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Powerful 8.0 earthquake hits northern Peru


A powerful earthquake registered by the USGS as M8.0 hit northern Peru at  07:11 UTC (02:41 LT) on May 26, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 109.9 km (68.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M8.0 at a depth of 100 km (62 miles). This earthquake can have a high humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

The epicenter was located 80.7 km (50.1 miles) SE of Lagunas (population 9 197), 98.4 km (61.2 miles) E of Yurimaguas (population 41 827) and 158.2 km (98.3 miles) ENE of Lamas (population 13 693), Peru.

There are 150 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

153 000 people are estimated to have felt severe shaking (VIII), 400 000 very strong (VII), 923 000 strong (VI), 5 742 000 moderate (V) and 22 689 000 light (IV).

The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities. Some casualties are possible. 

Orange alert was issued for economic losses. Significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Peru. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and ductile reinforced concrete frame construction.

Shaking was reported as far away as capital Lima, 1 280 km (800 miles) south of the epicenter.

Power cuts have been reported across the region.

Numerous homes and buildings were damaged/destroyed.

Two people have died (one in Cajamarca and one in La Libertad Department) and 15 others injured.

According to national authorities, 626 households have been affected, 739 buildings damaged including 66 schools and 28 health centers, and two bridges have collapsed.

The Government has declared a state of emergency for several districts in the Alto Amazonas and Datem del Marañón (Loreto Department), Cajabamba and San Marcos (Cajamarca Department) provinces. 

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity


Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM


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