Israel offers help to Peru after quake

Foreign Ministry transfers $20,000 for purchase of blankets and tents.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
President Shimon Peres on Friday sent a telegram to Peruvian President Alan Garcia offering Israel's assistance the day after a magnitude-8 earthquake devastated the southern coast, killing at least 510 people. Peres also instructed his advisors to examine specific ways in which Israel would be able to help the earthquake victims if required. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry transferred 20,000 dollars to the Israeli Embassy in Lima for the purchase of blankets and tents for the earthquake victims. At least 1,600 people were injured in the powerful quake near the Peruvian capital which toppled buildings and caused hundreds to flee offices and homes. The death toll was expected to rise above 510 as rescuers continued to dig through rubble from collapsed adobe homes in cities and hamlets. Garcia declared three days national mourning during which schools, army bases and museums will all be closed. Early Friday, the last two Israelis who were in the area of the quake contacted their families, informing them that they were unharmed. Hundreds of anxious families had contacted the Foreign Ministry Thursday worried over the fate of their children since communications systems were severely damaged in the quake, rendering many parents' attempts to contact their children futile. Sixty Israelis traveling in other regions of Peru had still not contacted their families as of Friday afternoon. No injuries were reported to Israelis or to members of Lima's 3,000-strong Jewish community as a result of the earthquake, Israeli Ambassador to Peru Walid Manzur told The Jerusalem Post by telephone. The Israeli Embassy in Lima sustained damage that was being investigated by municipal engineers. "The building is still there. There is some damage but I believe that we will all be working there soon again," he said. Asked to what extent he felt the earthquake, Manzur replied: "Too much. It was long. It was strong. Things were falling down [in Manzur's home] but there was only damage to things." In the gritty port city of Pisco, searchers at San Clemente church pulled bodies out all day and lined them up on the plaza - at least 60 by late afternoon. Authorities said the quake generated a tsunami of undetermined size, but later canceled a warning issued for coasts from Chile to Mexico. The US Geological Survey said the quake hit about 145 kilometers southeast of Lima at a depth of about 41 kilometers. Four strong aftershocks ranging from magnitudes of 5.4 to 5.9 were felt afterwards, the USGS said. The quake struck at 6:40 p.m. local time.