Post-Quake Peru Rebuilds

Phoenix Suns' Leandro Barbosa, left, of Brazil, is unable to stop Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant from making a jump shot in the first quarter of an NBA playoff basketball game Sunday, April 22, 2007 at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
Their simple brick homes in ruins, residents of this Andean highland town began a painstaking process of cleaning up and rebuilding after a devastating weekend earthquake that killed 102 people.

Many sought hammers and bricks to rebuild their homes. Others braced for what promised to be a long and frustrating return to normal life.

"We don't have anything," said Augustin Chuquimamani, mixing mortar and laying a fresh brick wall on his one-room house. "We don't have a kitchen, we don't even have metal sheets to a make a roof."

Chuquimamani was among hundreds of residents in this remote farming community who suffered losses in Saturday's 8.1-magnitude quake. In addition to those killed, another 1,368 people were injured and 46,470 were left homeless, Peru's Civil Defense Institute said Tuesday.

Late Monday, a 5.5-magnitude aftershock struck the devastated region, located about 580 miles southeast of the capital, Lima, Peru's Geophysical Institute said. No major damage or deaths were immediately reported, civil defense officials said.

"All of us sleep on the ground," said Felicina, his wife. "It gets very cold — so cold that the kids start crying."

Across southern Peru, people helped neighbors comb through shattered homes two days after the quake. Coated in dust, many searched for belongings amid mounds of wreckage and chunks of broken rock bigger than refrigerators.

Others set about the task of repairing homes, colonial churches and hundreds of businesses flattened by a temblor that shook the region for more than a minute.

Two engineers confer near the damaged bell tower of a cathedral

"You can't mope, you have to accept reality and move on," said Ronald Reula, clutching a sledgehammer and a shovel to clear away the rubble-cluttered area where his bedroom once stood.

After reviewing data on the temblor, geophysicists at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., upgraded the quake's magnitude from 7.9 to 8.1, qualifying the temblor as "great" — the highest grade for earthquakes.

"Had this happened in a more populated area the damage would been worse," said Waverly Person, a geophysicist at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center.

In Characato, 10 miles south of Arequipa, Peru's second largest city, Ronald Reula joined 10 other members of his family at the crumbled remains of their house. Reula's uncles and cousins carried away rock and debris in wash basins and wicker baskets.

"We're not sure what we're going to do," he said. "We've got to start over from scratch."

For a second straight day aid workers searched hard-to-reach hamlets to aid the injured and start rebuilding in communities of mud-brick houses. They answered calls for help from stranded survivors via ham radios.

In Arequipa, authorities blocked off roads leading to the city center out of fear heavy traffic might trigger further damage to hundreds of historic homes and buildings.

Workers on ladders and scaffolding clutched buckets of plaster and concrete as they patched up cracked walls.

Famed for its colonial architecture, Arequipa sits at 7,769 feet above sea level, nestled between an imposing volcano and the Andes mountains 465 miles south of the capital Lima. The city has been declared a world cultural treasure by the United Nations.

In Geneva, Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced an appeal for more than $1 million to aid quake victims, and airlifted more tents, blankets and food from Panama. U.S. Ambassador to Peru John Hamilton has said material aid from the United States would start arriving soon.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar announced a government emergency plan late Monday to deliver aid to the homeless.

"We need anything and everything we can get," said Filicina Chuquimamani.

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