August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007 – In the evening of Wednesday, August 15, the Peruvian coast was hit by a powerful earthquake (8.0-magnitude on the Richter scale). According to local sources, more than 500 people were killed and 1,000 were injured. The most affected cities are Chincha, Pisco, and Ica, located around 200 km south of the capital, Lima.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is organizing a team to assess the heavily hit areas in the south. A cargo charter is scheduled to leave Saturday, August 18, from Bogota, Colombia, with five tons of medical and non-medical supplies, including tents to set up dispensaries, and water-and-sanitation material.

Additional human resources have been sent from countries in the region where MSF works. A team, composed of a physician and a logistician, will assess the needs in the affected areas. They will be joined by a psychologist and a water-and-sanitation engineer in the coming days. Additional MSF staff may be sent to the region depending on the needs assessment.

The earthquake was also strongly felt in Lima. Early in the morning of August 16, a Lima-based MSF team immediately assessed the situation in the slum of Villa El Salvador, where MSF has been running an HIV/AIDS project. As the project is currently being handed over to the Peruvian Ministry of Health, very few MSF staff members were in the area at the time of the earthquake. No major damage or victims were reported in Villa El Salvador.

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