Saturday, August 18, 2007
A Reuters video from Pisco with no commentary is featured in CNN.
News and blog accounts as well as You Tube and other videos on the earthquake in Pisco scatter the internet. The United States Geological Survey has some scientific details; and blogger Ralph Koster has a thorough run-down of places to make donations (though these have not been verified).
For a quick run down of general news updates, we recommend this Reuters page. To include other stories in the list below, contact Peruvia's editor.
- 'Death and disbelief in a hard-hit city' (Los Angeles Times, Patrick J. McDonnell)
- 'Desperation Grips Peru' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges)
- 'Grimmest Site in a Grim Peruvian City: The Cemetery' (New York Times, Simon Romero)
- 'In Peru, a Grim Procession Amid Quake's Rubble' (Washington Post, Monte Reel)
- 'Rescuers race to find Peru quake survivors' (Agence France Press)
- 'Angry Peru quake survivors demand aid' (Agence France Press, Laurent Thomet)
- 'Grim quake toll from Peru church' (BBC)
- 'Anxiety stalks quake survivors' (BBC)
- 'Engineers work to reconnect Peru' (BBC)
- 'In region known for music, focus turns to burials' (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Gonzalo Ruiz Tova)
- 'Peruvians pull more bodies from quake rubble' (Reuters, Mariana Bazo)
- 'Survivors flee quake-hit towns in Peru amid looting' (Reuters, Terry Wade)
- 'Harsh winter will add to the death toll as Peruvians shelter from aftershocks' (The Independent, Andrew Gumbel, UK)
- 'Quake victims are saved from church as town lays in ruins' (The Times, UK)
- 'Peru Hit by another Aftershock as Relief Efforts continue' (Voice of America)
- 'Peru's rescue helicopter falls down, injuring 7' (Xinhua)
- 'Peru's quake-hit region suffers from lack of food, water: president' (Xinhua)
- 'Brussels doubles aid to Peru quake victims' (Agence France Press)
- 'Soto Cano Task Force Arrives in Peru' (American Forces Press Service)
- 'Pentagon Sends Medical Team to Peru from Honduras' (Associated Press)
- 'Japan provides Peru with 16 million yen in emergency relief goods' (Associated Press)
- 'Canadian dancers urge donations for Peru earthquake victims' (Canadian Press)
- 'CARE assessment teams report damage and need' (CARE press release)
- 'Taiwan pledges medics, US$100,000 in aid to Peru' (China Post)
- 'Caritas Rushes to Peru Quake Zone' (Christianity Today, USA)
- 'Venezuela sends humanitarian aid to Peru' (El Universal)
- 'Israel offers help to Peru after quake' (Jerusalem Post)
- 'Lutheran World Relief responding to earthquake' (Lutheran World Relief press release)
- 'Medical Teams International sends additional medicines' (Medical Teams press release)
- 'Mercy Corps partnering to respond to Peru earthquake' (Mercy Corp press release)
- 'Solano Helping Peru In Hour of Need' (Newcastle United blog)
- 'Oxfam Int'l: Peru Earthquake Rural areas in desperate need of aid' (Oxfam press release)
- 'Peru Prez Praises Bolivian Aid' (Prensa Libre, Cuba)
- 'The Salvation Army to Send Financial Aid Following Earthquake' (Salvation Army press release)
- 'Samaritan's Purse providing emergency aid to earthquake survivors' (Samaritan's Purse press release)
- 'UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Update' (UN press release)
- 'USAID Sends Additional Earthquake Assistance to Peru' (USAID press release)
- 'Austrian aid agencies send help to earthquake victims' (Weiner Zeitung, Austria)
- 'World Vision arrives to the area of major disaster' (World Vision press release)
- 'WV attends earthquake with help to 500 affected families' (World Vision press release)
- '3 Virginia Firefighters Sent to Peru by USAID' (WTOP, Washington)
- 'Turkey offers assistance to Peru after deadly quake' (Xinhua)
- 'Peru receives 40 mln USD in international aid for quake relief' (Xinhua, China)
- 'Death Toll Climbs Past 500' (Associated Press video)
- 'Peru Quake Aftermath' (BBC photographs)
- Photographs sent in from readers (BBC photographs)
- 'Quake Rocks Peru' (Los Angeles Times photographs)
- 'Peru Earthquake Spawns Desperation' (National Public Radio; mp3 file)
- 'Peru Town Devastated by Quake' (NBC Nightly News, Mark Potter, USA)
- 'Peru's homeless quake victims' (Reuters video, Stuart McDill)
- 'Peru Survivor Search' (Reuters video, leads with the first 30 seconds)
- 'Peru Earthquake' (The Times photographs, UK)
- 'Peru Seeks to Quell Quake Looting' (Associated Press, Frank Bajak)
- 'Peru Government Deploys Army to Halt Looting After Earthquake' (Bloomberg, Alex Emery)
- 'More Troops to Prevent Looting in Peru' (Prensa Latina, Cuba)
- 'Peru earthquake survivors loot, fight for food' (Reuters, Jean Luis Arce)
- 'Looting, plunder complicates disaster relief in Peru' (Xinhua)
- 'Peru's Economic Gains Seen Mitigating Earthquake Costs' (Dow Jones, Robert Kozak)
- 'Quake halts Peru's Cerro Lindo, other mines fine' (Reuters)
- 'Telcos cut fixed line calls to Peru by 50%' (BNAmericas)
- 'Acero-Martin Employees Safe and Development Continuing at Pinaya Project After Peru Earthquake' (Acero-Martin press release)
- 'UF researchers safely home from Peru after quake' (Associated Press, Gainesville, FL)
- Indiana college professors survive devastating Peru earthquake' (Associated Press, Indiana)
- 'Priest survived Peru quake hidden under church table' (Reuters, Monica Machicao)
- 'Survived the Earthquake' (MySpace account)
- 'Living Through an Earthquake' (News Line 9, Wisconsin)
- 'Terrified teachers caught up in Peru earthquake' (Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph)
- 'Backpackers from Arlington recount jolt from temblor' (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas; see also backpackers' photographs)
- 'Welsh teacher caught in Peru ’quake' (Western Mail, Wales)
- ' N.Y.C.'s Peruvians shaken by quake' (New York Daily News, Adam Edelman and Alyssa Giachino)
- 'Peru quake lets inmates escape' (Associated Press, Jeanneth Valdivieso And Frank Bajak)
- 'Kuwait Amir condoles Peru on quake victims' (Kuwait News Agency)
- 'India condoles loss of lives, property in Peru' (New Karala, India)
- 'President's tribute to Peru victims' (Tyrone Times, Ireland)
- 'Local Peruvians chip in to help earthquake victims' (Los Angeles Times, Anna Gorman)
- 'S. Fla reaches out with aid for Peru' (Miami Herald, Alfonso Chardy)
- 'Church says 7 LDS die in Peru quake' (Salt Lake Tribune, Utah)
- 'Yuma man contacts family in Peru' (Yuma Sun, Arizona)
- 'Nafta trade talks likely to stall' (BBC, Steve Schifferes)
- ' Satellites Show Logging Decline in Peru's Amazon Region' (InterPress Service, Stephen Leahy)
- 'Developing highway could injure Brazil's fragile Amazon' (Miami Herald)
- 'Matador Madness in Peru' (The Times, Matthew Parris UK)
Friday, August 17, 2007
(Editorial Note: Lucien Chauvin scores a journalistic two-fer publishing news articles in both the Christian Science Monitor and the Financial Times today.)
- 'World Pledges Aid for Quake-Raved Peru' (Agence France-Press)
- 'Two Quakes Rock Peru; 510 Dead from Earlier Shock' (Bloomberg, Alex Emery and Camilla Hall)
- 'Peru's Economic Gains Seen Mitigating Earthquake Costs' (Dow Jones, Robert Kozak)
- ' 'It felt like we had stepped on to the set of a war movie'' (The Independent, James MacIntyre, UK)
- 'Hundreds Bury Their Loved Ones in Peru' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges)
- 'Death Toll in Peru Surpasses 500' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges)
- 'Peruvian Town Square Becomes a Morgue' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges)
- 'Peru In Ruins' (Miami Herald slide show)
- Times Reporter from Pisco (New York Times audio, Simon Romero)
- 'A Peruvian City Is Left Devastated by Quake' (New York Times, Simon Romero and Mike Nizza)
- 'Toll Climbs in Peru; Areas Lack Water and Power' (New York Times, Simon Romero)
- Times/El Comercio photographer from Pisco (New York Times audio, Ana Cecilia Gonzales-Vigil)
- 'Destruction and Tsunami After Plates Collide Again' (New York Times, Cornelia Dean)
- 'Aftermath of the Earthquake in Peru' (New York Times slide show including AFP, AP, Reuters and El Comercio photographs)
- 'In Disaster's Wake' (earlier New York Times slide show)
- 'Anatomy of the Quake' (New York Times graphic)
- 'Survivors of Peru Quake Fear Aftershocks' (Associated Press, Jeanneth Valdivieso)
- ' Dead scattered in the streets of quake-ravaged Peru' (CNN)
- 'Peru Mobilizes After Major Earthquake' (Christian Science Monitor, Lucien Chauvin)
- 'Devastating Peru earthquake leaves at least 300 dead' (Financial Times, Lucien Chauvin)
- 'Peru quake disaster area hit by powerful aftershock' (Reuters, Jean Luis Arce)
- 'Earthquake in Peru leaves hundreds killed and thousands injured' (UNICEF press release)
- 'USAID Assists Peru After Devastating Earthquake' (USAID press release)
- 'A second strong quake triggers panic in Peru' (Thomson Financial)
- 'Toll Climbs to 510 in Peru' (New York Times, Simon Romero)
- 'Peru's INDECI Reports on Houses Destroyed, Earthquake Casualties' (Living In Peru)
- 'Jewish Community in Earthquake Path' (Voz iz Neias; update from Voz iz Neias)
- 'Earthquake in Peru Kills Hundreds' (New York Times, Laura Puertas and Jon Elsen)
- 'Red Cross Partners Launch Response to Earthquake in Peru' (Red Cross, press release)
Mining: Strait Gold Corporation has started diamond drilling at its Culebrilla gold-silver project, according to a press release.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
McClatchy reporter Tyler Bridges has several reports and seems to be among the first international journalists in Pisco. A version of his first story (they are chronologically ordered from earliest to latest below) was posted no later than 9:10pm EST. The reports include:
- 'Major Quake Hits Peru' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges)
- 'Quake Strikes Peru; At Least 17 Dead' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges, Lima)
- 'Misery, Death Toll Mount as Peru Takes Stock After Quake' (McClatchy Newspapers, Tyler Bridges, Pisco)
- 'Peru Pleads for Aid After Quake Kills Hundreds' (Miami Herald, Tyler Bridges, Pisco)
- White House Reponds to Peru Quake: The earthquake in Peru was included in the White House 'press gaggle' from Crawford, Texas where the USA President's spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, said, "The President had his normal briefings this morning. In addition to his intelligence briefing, he was also briefed on the earthquake in Peru. The President and Mrs. Bush offer their condolences to the people of Peru, and especially to those who have lost a loved one because of this natural disaster."
- Oxford Analytica has a short paragraph suggesting that the earthquake could affect Peru's trade.
- 'Lost in the Fog: Newark Case is Not About Illegal Immigration' (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Peruvians fight patchwork prejudice
By Hal Weitzman in Lima
Published: August 13 2007 22:25
The advisory notices are like scars on the voguish dark wood-and-concrete exterior of the Café del Mar, a chic nightspot in the upmarket Miraflores neighbourhood of southern Lima. Plastered across the club’s door, they declare in large red letters: “CLOSED for breaking the law”. Last month, the Café del Mar became the first such establishment in Peru to be shut down by local authorities for racial discrimination. It was also fined 241,500 soles ($77,000, €56,000, £38,000).
The case has shed new light on a society whose various elites have long been dominated by lighter-skinned descendents of European immigrants. “This was an incredibly important step forward,” says Edwin Aldana, of the office of consumer protection at Indecopi, Peru’s competition authority. “It’s sent out a message that we have laws to protect all consumers – and we will enforce them.”
The action followed an undercover investigation by Indecopi in January 2006 in which a mestizo (mixed-race) couple were turned away from the club, while a whiter couple were allowed in. Café del Mar was fined, but a further investigation in October by a television news team found more of the same behaviour.
Indecopi then secured a judgment to force the club to close for 60 days and to impose the maximum fine. After generations of inter-marriage, most Peruvians do not fall easily into racial categories. The vast majority are mestizos and can trace their heritage back to combinations of indigenous, black, Chinese and white ancestors. There is also a large minority of purely indigenous Peruvians, particularly in the high Andes, and much smaller numbers of whites and blacks.
This patchwork masks a deeply entrenched system of prejudices. Peruvians are acutely aware of a plethora of subtle social and cultural distinctions that are almost imperceptible to outsiders. Prejudice is not a simple matter of skin colour, and this is one reason why the authorities find it hard to prove that the law has been broken.
“Peru is not a racist country, but that’s not to say there isn’t widespread discrimination by race and class,” says Julio Cotler, a political analyst in Lima.
Historically, those with darker skin and more indigenous characteristics have been marginalised from power and wealth. This has fuelled resentment against traditional elites.
Ollanta Humala, a radical nationalist who came close to winning last year’s presidential election, played on that anger during the campaign, casting himself as an “outsider” who would challenge Peru’s traditional decision-makers.
The flip side is what many see as a kind of self-loathing among some of the more indigenous Peruvians. “Discrimination is a cultural problem,” says Mr Humala. “Peru has a social pyramid based on skin colour – with white descendents of the Spanish at the top, mestizos further down and cholos [more indigenous people] at the bottom. The result is no one wants to be a cholo.”
Many Peruvians want to marry “whiter” than themselves – an impulse that can be traced back to the 19th-century idea of “improving the race”. “There is a widespread notion that if your children are whiter, they’ll have more opportunities,” says Wilfredo Ardito, a Lima anti-racism campaigner.
This attitude also fuels racial prejudice further down the social spectrum. “A cholo who becomes a bit whiter is often more racist than a white person,” says Mr Humala.
Some of the worst prejudice is suffered by Peru’s small black minority. “Black people are right at the bottom of the pile,” says Alfredo Perez Samame, of the Afro-Peruvian museum in Zaña, a northern coastal village. “Everyone feels they can discriminate against us.”
There are some signs of positive change. In 2001, Alejandro Toledo, an indigenous former shoeshine boy, won Peru’s presidential election and served until last year.
In recent decades, a growing number of darker-skinned Peruvians have become relatively well-off, and there is a developing and increasingly vocal anti-racism movement.
Six nightclubs have been fined in recent years. None has paid up, but the latest move to enforce anti-racism laws is a fresh sign that things may be improving.
“Since Café del Mar closed, a lot more people have come forward to report incidents. They now feel something will be done about it,” says Mr Aldana.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Poisoned city fights to save its children
Families in a Peruvian valley choked by toxic gas from a smelter are taking on a US metals giant
Hugh O'Shaughnessy in La Oroya, Peru
Sunday August 12, 2007
Children wearing masks play near the towering chimneys of Peru's La Oroya refinery and metals processing plant. Photograph: Reuters
At an altitude of 13,000ft the Andean air is clear. A plume of white smoke rises from the chimney at the La Oroya smelter, hard at work refining arsenic and metals such as lead, cadmium and copper. But today the company is not discharging any gases over this city in central Peru. 'It's a nice day, so the company won't be letting off any gases,' says Hugo Villa, a neurologist at the local hospital. 'They keep the worst emissions do overcast days or after dark.'
When the gases are released, they make this one of the most polluted places on the planet, with La Oroya ranking alongside Chernobyl for environmental devastation, according to a US think-tank, the Blacksmith Institute.
The company is a US corporation, Renco Doe Run. The gases are the product from the main smelter a mile or two down the valley. The high mountains around keep out the cleansing winds, meaning that airborne metals are concentrated in the valley. Neither humans nor nature can escape the company's outpourings of poisons. And, despite evidence that gases have been behind the premature deaths of workers and residents young and old, the business-oriented, pro-US government of President Alan Garcia is too afraid of foreign investors to do anything about it.
Now, however, the townspeople, once muted by their worries about losing their jobs with the valley's biggest employer, are turning their attention towards Ira Rennert, Renco's proprietor.
The pollution from his plants appears both horrific and difficult to contest. A study of 93 newborn children in the first 12 hours of their life, conducted by Hugo Villa, showed they had highly dangerous levels of lead in their blood, inherited from their mothers while in the womb. The nearer the mothers lived to the main smelter, the higher was the babies' level of lead poisoning.
'The effects of the lead are often difficult to trace,' said Villa. 'But it lodges permanently in bones and affects the liver, kidneys and the brain. It affects the central nervous system. I've had child patients who have lost feeling in their limbs and can't control themselves.'
The quality of air sampled in the neighbourhood by three Peruvian voluntary agencies showed 85 times more arsenic, 41 times more cadmium and 13 times more lead than is safe. In parts of the town the water supply contains 50 per cent more lead than levels recommended by the World Health Organisation. The untreated waters of the Mantaro river are contaminated with copper, iron, manganese, lead and zinc and are not suitable for irrigation or consumption by animals, according to the standards supposed to be legally enforced in Peru. The water coming out of the nearby Huascacocha lake contains more than four times the legal limit of manganese.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the town has more than its fair share of youngsters with physical or mental disabilities. The company has a scheme under which a few hundred carefully selected children of Doe Run employees are taken for a few hours every day to a camp outside the town. With less money, the town council is trying to do something similar for children whose parents do not work for the company. None of this bears on the main problem - the pollution from the refineries. The problem here is such that adults chat about the lead levels in their blood.
'I'm 37,' said one. 'That's nothing,' said another, 'I'm 43.'
For years the Oroyinos, as the locals are called, appeared to put up with their lot. In the past, union leaders and the mayor were persuaded by Renco Doe Run to side with it to block, successfully, the government's feeble attempts to force it to reduce pollution. 'We may move out, and you'll all lose your jobs, was the message,' said Pedro, one former employee, now an invalid. 'It was a question of deciding whether to have enough food to eat or not.'
This year it is different. The town has elected a new mayor, Cesar Rodriguez, and the unions elected new leaders; and the effects of the pollution on children is finally getting through to parents.
Rennert's record as a polluter is not confined to Peru. For nearly 13 years, according to industry reports, the company topped the US Environmental Protection Authority's list as the worst air polluter in the country.