At least 450 reported dead in Peru quake

LIMA, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- As rescue workers continued to dig bodies from the rubble in Peru, officials raised the death toll to 450 from a major earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 8.0 quake was followed by at least 15 aftershocks, The New York Times reported. Some were measured at more than magnitude 6.0.


The earthquake hit just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, The epicenter was near the coast about 90 miles south of Lima.

Most of the deaths occurred in the coastal towns of Pisco, Ica and Chincha. Pisco Mayor Juan Mendoza said at least 200 people were buried in a church that collapsed during a service.

"The dead are scattered by the dozens on the streets," Mendoza told CPN, a radio station in Lima.

In Ica, a church tower collapsed, killing several people, the Times said. The town also lost electric power.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia declared a state of emergency and ordered his nation's 100,000 police officers to report for duty.

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