Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Friday, 17 August 2007 13:49 UK

Dawn shines light on Pisco's sorrow

By Luis del Valle
BBC Mundo, Pisco

Pisco is a town that has been devastated and thousands of its residents are waiting for aid, for food, for basic services to be restored.

A mother comforts her injured son in Pisco
People in Pisco need urgent help amid the ruins of their town

There is no electricity, no fresh water, not enough supplies and people are exposed to the bitter winter cold.

Some aid is starting to get through from the capital, Lima, but deliveries have been badly held up because the roads to Pisco are so badly damaged.

Pisco is a town on the coast, in a desert region where heat during the day is unbearable and where at night the temperatures fall dramatically.

Only those who have managed to get hold of a blanket have any protection from the cold.

People have taken wood from the destroyed houses to use for fires, and on every street corner there is a fire with people huddled around it, waiting for someone, anyone, any official to come to help them.

It really is a desperate situation.

Remote areas

In Pisco, Ica and other affected areas, the authorities are trying to register those who have lost their homes so the government can get an idea of the scale of the damage.

President Alan Garcia (left) meets officials in Peru
President Alan Garcia is overseeing relief efforts from Pisco

The director of the civil defence told me they had been overwhelmed by the disaster and that no country could have been prepared for an event on this scale.

We still don't have a clear idea of the situation in the more remote villages and hamlets.

Civil defence officials have started to get news from these areas, and the indications are that many homes, which are often built from flimsy materials, have collapsed. It is clear that these remote areas need urgent help.

But if aid is only now getting through to Pisco, people affected by the earthquake in more remote areas are clearly going to have to wait even longer for help to arrive.

video and audio news
Amateur footage showing the force of the quake

In pictures: Peru earthquake
16 Aug 07 |  In Pictures
Peru quake: Eyewitness accounts
16 Aug 07 |  Have Your Say
Country profile: Peru
12 May 07 |  Country profiles
How earthquakes happen
01 Jun 09 |  Science & Environment
Race to find Peru quake survivors
24 Jun 01 |  Americas
Earthquake rocks Peru
24 Jun 01 |  Americas


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific