Magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits Peru, no deaths reported

FILE PHOTO: Peru's PM Adrianzen addresses the media after prosecutors raided president's home, in Lima

By Marco Aquino and Natalia Siniawski

LIMA, (Reuters) -A powerful earthquake of magnitude of 7.0 struck near the coast in southern Peru's Arequipa region on Friday, local officials said, adding no deaths had been reported.

A total of eight people have been injured. The Chief of Disaster Risk Management and National Defense at the Ministry of Health, David Aponte, informed local radio station RPP of three minor injuries. Later, the Ministry of Health reported another five injured people had been treated in hospitals nearby.

Following the earthquake, Arequipa was hit by four aftershocks of 4 to 4.6 magnitude, causing some landslides on local roads.

The government said on social media it was monitoring to assess the damage and "determine the actions to be taken".

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center had said there was a tsunami threat from the quake, adding waves of between 1 and 3 metres (9.84 ft) above the tide level had been recorded along some parts of Peru's coast.

Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen, however, said the tsunami warning on the coast of Arequipa had been discarded.

Carlos Zanabria, an adviser to the regional government of Arequipa, told local radio station RPP, material damage had been reported in some districts and residents had left their homes in fear, but he had heard no reports of death or injury.

Flavio Aranguren, the mayor of Yauca district in Arequipa's Caraveli province, told RPP some walls of houses in the district had collapsed. He also said no fatalities had been reported.

Small artisanal gold mines operate in the town of Yauca and other neighboring towns near the coast, but there was no information available so far about any impact.

Ricardo Guillen, representative of the National Emergency Operations Center, said that there have been power and telephone line outages in areas near the epicenter of the earthquake.

Ecuador and Peru are part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an extensive area that surrounds the Pacific Ocean where clashes between the continental plates are frequent.

(Reporting by Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru and Natalia Siniawskiin Gdnask and Marco Aquino in Peru; editing by Christopher Cushing, Jason Neely, Tomasz Janowski, Sharon Singleton, Barbara Lewis, William Maclean)