On 15 August, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit the Central West coast of Peru killing over 500 people and injuring more than 1,500 in a quake that lasted for about two minutes. The SOS Children's Villages and other programmes are all safe and no loss of human life or building has been reported.
According to the US Geology Survey, the epicentre was located in the Pacific Ocean, 40 kilometres from the town of Chincha and 150 kilometres from Lima. The three SOS Children's Villages in Lima (Zárate, Rio Hondo, and Callao) and the one in Huancayo were not damaged. Witnesses at the programmes reported, though, that the quake was terribly strong and extremely terrifying, especially for the children.
A team of SOS Children's Villages Peru has travelled to the most affected areas to assess the situation. Many people in the towns of Chincha, Ica, and Pisco have been dramatically affected and are in urgent need of support. It is expected that if an emergency relief programme follows, SOS Children's Villages Peru's first actions will be the provision of food, water, basic medication, and blankets.
In Lima the situation is critical, too. Schools have been closed, telephone services have been restricted, and electricity has not been restored yet in some parts of the city (Callao, Chorillos, and Rimac). According to police reports, over a hundred families spent the night outside fearing the collapse of their precarious shelters' roofs.
At present there are eight SOS Children's Villages, SOS Youth Facilities at six locations, two SOS Kindergartens, various SOS Social Centres and an SOS Vocational Training Centre in Peru.