Monday, August 20, 2007

Earthquake update from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries

An earthquake rocked the coast of southern Peru on Wednesday, August 15 at a magnitude of 8.0. Over 500 people are dead, and thousands are homeless.

The areas of Pisco and Ica (about 125 miles south of Lima along the Pacific coast) were the most severely affected. The quake destroyed almost half of these two cities leaving 80,000 people homeless.

To make matters worse, it is winter in Peru, and people are camping outside without tents or blankets. There is no electricity and insufficient drinking water. Some have even started looting stores and warehouses trying to survive.

The scene is desperate and the death toll increasing. Relief workers found 127 dead mourners who had been attending a funeral at a Catholic church in Pisco when the earthquake began. It is estimated that 200 were in the building when it collapsed. The government reports that over 1,500 are injured in the area, but the numbers will surely increase as relief officials are able to reach rural communities that are still inaccessible by road due to landslides. Pisco, a town of 160,000, has no morgue, so the dead are lying on the ground in the central park while caskets can be made and sent to the town for burials.

The Church of the Nazarene’s newest district in Peru, the South Central District, includes both Pisco and Ica. There are only three Nazarene church buildings there, and all three are severely damaged. Almost all of our church families on this new district suffered major losses.

“The churches and houses of the brothers and sisters are all seriously affected. In the Pisco Church of the Nazarene, two members of the church lost their lives,” Field Strategy Coordinator Segundo Rimarachin reported. “Yesterday (Friday), I went to the disaster area with the district superintendent, Pastor Jaime Garcia, taking a little help. We were able to better understand the difficult time that our brothers and sisters and the community in general are having. They have no water, no electricity, no food. They are sleeping in the parks and streets. They need blankets and clothing for the cold. The help they are receiving from the government and other institutions is insufficient.”

The Church of the Nazarene in Peru is collecting money and resources to help their brothers and sisters. Please join them through prayer and giving so that they may care for the needs around them during this time of emergency and also in the rebuilding in the days to come.

In response to the tragedy, World Mission Director Dr. Louie E. Bustle commented, “In the midst of tragedies such as these, it is comforting to know that God’s love and faithfulness are unchanging. Let’s all pray for our brothers and sisters in Peru and work together to share Christ’s love and compassion to those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

Persons and churches wishing to make a donation can mark their checks “Peru Earthquake Relief – ACM1596” and mail them to Global Treasury Services, 6401 The Paseo, Kansas City, MO 64131. In Canada, checks should be made payable and sent to the Church of the Nazarene Canada, 20 Regan Road, Unit 9, Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3. Immediate donations may also be made online at

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