A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Peru, damaging some homes and roads but causing no casualties, the National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) said. The quake in the Puno region hit at 5:40 pm local time (2240 GMT), its epicenter 58 kilometers from the town of Lampa and at a depth of 30 kilometers, according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP).
“Eight collapsed homes are reported in Lampa and 40 affected in the Paratia district. People are located in safe areas,” INDECI said on Twitter, adding that communication with the area had been disrupted. Minutes earlier, IGP head Hernando Tavera reported that “the population was scared and took to the streets” in Lampa, which has 15,000 residents.
The tremor lasted about 30 seconds and was also felt in the nearby city of Puno, located in the Andes mountains more than 3,800 meters above sea level. Both Lampa and Puno are close to Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian border. Peru lies on the so-called “Ring of Fire” – an arc of fault lines that circles the Pacific Basin and is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The South American country records about 200 earthquakes a year, most of them unnoticed by the public. The last deadly earthquake in Peru struck in August, when a magnitude 5.3 quake hit the country’s south at a shallow depth of eight kilometers below the surface. Four people died, including a US tourist.
The last major quake struck in August 2007, killing 595 people.