“People in financial markets always think they are more important than the real world.” (Julian Jessop of Capital Economics)
Your correspondent was sitting at his desk Wednesday evening when a large earthquake rolled through his house. It was easily powerful enough to get him and his family quickly but calmly out of the house. After 2 minutes of rolling waves, the neighbourhood decided that all was fine. We said our goodnights and went back to our respective houses. A few minutes later your correspondent saw that the epicenter of the quake was a full 500 miles away. When you live in an earthquake zone, you know what that means.
In the coastal region of Peru around 100 to 150 miles from Lima, there are presently 510 reported deaths, 2000 people injured (many seriously), at least 17,000 homes destroyed and at least 85,000 people with no homes tonight. The town of Pisco, well known as being the home of the spirit that goes by the same name as well as being a quiet provincial town populated by hard-working and friendly people, looks like the victim a small nuclear device. Its central square was once a very pretty place to sit and watch the world. It is now an open-air morgue. 85% of all buildings are now ruins.
To its credit, the Peruvian government has responded well. President Garcia should be applauded for the way he has handled the disaster up to now. Logistics are a temporary problem as most overland routes to the area are blocked, but these issues will resolve themselves in the near future.
I really don’t feel like rattling off too many statistics or sob stories here, but I will say the following: If you are a person of faith, a prayer for those in the Ica/Pisco/Chincha/Cañete/Nazca region would not go amiss. If you feel so inclined, a small donation to the relief agencies would be appreciated, not least by my sister-in-law who is a doctor called to the main hospital in Ica (and probably hasn’t slept much in the last 48 hours). But above all, remember the words of Julian Jessop.