Peru Quake Death Toll Reaches 450

A magnitude-8.0 earthquake claimed the lives of at least 450 people as of late Thursday afternoon, according to The Associated Press. More than 1,500 people were reported injured. The center of the destruction was in Peru's southern desert, in the oasis city of Ica and the nearby port of Pisco, about 125 miles southeast of the capital, Lima. Pisco's mayor said at least 200 people were buried in the rubble of a church where they had been attending a service. The earthquake hit at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, when attendance at churches was high because Aug. 15 is a Roman Catholic holy day. In Ica, a city of 120,000 near the epicenter, a fourth of the buildings collapsed; at least 57 bodies were brought to the morgue. President Alan Garcia flew to Ica in a helicopter and declared a state of emergency in the region. He said aid flights were reaching Ica, and that the injured were being evacuated to Lima.

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