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Powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake kills 1, causes damage in north-central Peru

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 27, 2019, 9:36:20 AM EDT

At least one person is dead after a powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Amazon rainforest in north-central Peru on Sunday morning.

Peru's National Emergency Operations Center registered a magnitude of 7.2 for the earthquake, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Pictures posted on Twitter by the Ministry of the Interior of Peru showed considerable damage and building collapses in Yurimaguas, a town with over 62,000 inhabitants.

One person died when a rock fell onto a home in the Huarango district, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Preliminary estimates indicate that six other people sustained injuries, while 27 homes were damaged across seven provinces. Other buildings affected included three schools, three hospitals and two churches, the AP reported.

"Daily showers and thunderstorms in the vicinity can slow cleanup and recovery efforts this week," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller. "There is also the threat for a local downpour."

A video showed the facade of a church in Ecuador lying in ruins on the ground.

Local law enforcement agents were "patrolling the streets to calm down the population and receive information about housing collapses due to the strong earthquake," the Ministry of the Interior of Peru said.

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A total of 1,250 troops have been deployed to the region, along with helicopters and airplanes.

The town of Yurimaguas was among the communities where large homes collapsed, but the ministry reported that Pucallpa escaped without major damage.

The Firefighters of the Nauta Company 175 Loreto reported damages to the bell tower of the San Felipe and Santiago Parish near the center of Loreto, Peru.

Power outages also occurred in some communities.

"We are evaluating the affected areas," President of the Republic of Peru, Martín Vizcarra, said on Twitter after the earthquake struck. "I ask all of our citizens to remain calm."

The temblor struck 47 miles (75 km) southeast of Lagunas, Peru, at a depth of 68 miles (110 km) below the Earth's surface, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Lagunas is home to nearly 10,000 people.

Peru usgs

The location of the powerful earthquake that struck Peru on Sunday, May 24, 2019, is noted by the star. (USGS)

The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.

"Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized," the USGS stated. "Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional-level response."

The earthquake hit away from the heavily populated coastal areas, but light shaking was still felt in the capital of Lima, Peru, where people reportedly ran from their homes out of fear.

peru earthquake may 2019

The banks of the Huallaga River are cracked after an earthquake in Puerto Santa Gema, on the outskirts of Yurimaguas, Peru, Sunday, May 26, 2019.

There were also reports of light shaking near Quito, Ecuador, and Bogotá, Colombia.

Peru is accustomed to experiencing frequent earthquakes as it lies along the Pacific's Ring of Fire.

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