The 5.3 magnitude earthquake rocked a copper-producing region in the Caylloma province
A 5.3 magnitude shallow earthquake killed at least four people and injured more than two dozen when it rocked a copper-producing region in Peru late on Sunday, authorities said.
The quake was eight kilometres (5 miles) deep in the Caylloma province of the Andean region Arequipa and aftershocks continued to shake the region on Monday (August 15), the Geophysical Institute of Peru said. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the earthquake as having a 5.4 magnitude.
The USGS categorises earthquakes as shallow (up to 70 kilometers or 43 miles), intermediate (70-300 kilometers or 43-186 miles) or deep (186-434 miles).
The Caylloma province is home to Peru's Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world and a popular draw for trekkers.
"We are now working with heavy machinery to clean up the area and we expect it will be another four to six hours and hopefully we will then be able to reach the town of Yanque which has been the worst hit district with injured and possibly more dead. We are right now in the sector that was hit by the earthquake last night," mayor Romula Tinta of Yanque said.
A 66-year-old US man was among four confirmed casualties, the National Civil Defense Institute said.
Preliminary reports from affected areas indicated eight people may have been killed as dozens of homes collapsed in three towns, Arequipa governor Yamilia Osorio said on local broadcaster RPP.
Phone lines and electrical service were down and roads were blocked by landslides, provincial Mayor Romulo Tinta said on RPP on Monday.
Southern Copper Corp said its two copper mines and smelter in Arequipa were unaffected by the quake. Representatives of Freeport McMoRan Inc's Cerro Verde copper mine in Arequipa could not immediately be reached for comment.
Vice president Martin Vizcarra travelled to Caylloma to oversee the distribution of humanitarian aide, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Twitter.
The quake struck a day before the ninth anniversary of a 2007 earthquake in Peru that killed hundreds in the region of Ica.
Many homes in Peru are built with precarious materials such as adobe that cannot withstand earthquakes.