Each year, CRS sponsors the Eileen Egan Journalism Awards to recognize journalists who demonstrate excellence in reporting on international humanitarian and social justice issues. As part of their prize, the 2007 winners recently returned from a 10-day reporting trip to Peru. Here is the first article filed by this year’s Eileen Egan winners.
Clearing quake debris still the main focus of life in Peruvian towns
By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service
PISCO, Peru (CNS) — Six weeks after an earthquake flattened 80 percent of the adobe brick homes in Pisco, the town on the Pacific coast 140 miles south of Lima, had only recently started to rumble consistently with the more welcome sound of heavy equipment hauling away tons of rubble.
A truck is loaded with debris from San Clemente parish in Pisco, Peru. Photo by Caritas Peru.
The otherwise flat terrain around Pisco was growing new hills, composed of broken adobe bricks, scraps of roofing material, windows, furniture and other unsalvageable remains of what had been a city of 116,000 people before the magnitude 8 earthquake on Aug. 15.
Caritas Peru, the Catholic Church’s relief organization, reported a national death toll from the quake of 519 people, with another 1,800 injured. More than 70,000 homes were destroyed, and 33,000 more were damaged.
Pisco, Ica, Chincha, San Clemente, San Andres and other shattered towns shake with seismic aftershocks only rarely now. Instead, their narrow roads tremble with the vibrations of bulldozers and dump trucks hauling away debris.