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Major Earthquake Strikes Southern Peru

Major Earthquake Strikes Southern Peru

No victims have been reported so far after a strong natural disaster hit southern Peru early on Sunday morning, the governor of Peru's Arequipa region, Yamila Osorio, said on Twitter.

The quake hit offshore at 4:18 a.m. local time at a depth of around 36 kilometres, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It was even felt in the capital Lima, hundreds of kilometers away. A representative of Southern Copper Corp. said there were no reports of damage at its Cuajone and Toquepala mines in the Moguegua and Tacna regions.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said rescue teams were on their way to verify the extent of the damage.

The head of the National Civil Defence Institute, Jorge Chavez, told a radio station that the two deaths were reported in the districts of Yauca and Bella Union, while the injured were in the provinces of Caraveli and Nazca, Efe news agency reported. Power cuts were also reported.

The natural disaster rocked Peru just before Pope Francis is slated to arrive Thursday for a three-day visit after touring Chile.

Earthquakes are a major risk in Peru, where highly active fault lines are responsible for the uplift of the massive Andes mountain range.

A powerful natural disaster struck off Peru's coast early Sunday, prompting a tsunami alert for parts of the country and neighboring Chile that was eventually called off.

Sunday's quake is a glimpse at how bad a bigger natural disaster in a more populated part of Peru would be.

The South American country records about 200 earthquakes a year, majority going unnoticed by the public.

"Lima is not prepared, really, because of the risky circumstances our people live in", Mayor Luis CastaƱeda said in 2015.

About 47 percent of homes in Peru, or 3.6 million, are made of clay, earth, stone or wood materials that are vulnerable in earthquakes, according to government statistics from 2014.

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