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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Peru quake: Eyewitness accounts
Peru's coast has been hit by a powerful 7.9 earthquake, killing hundreds of people. BBC News website readers have been sending their accounts of what happened.

I was in Paracas, south of Pisco and north of Ica. I was in my hotel room when it happened. It was very frightening. Everything shook in the hotel and parts of it literally collapsed. We gathered at the front of the hotel. Then someone said we had to move because of a tsunami scare. We then saw the water coming along the road and we all just ran as fast as we could. It was very dark and we just ran for about 15 minutes until we reached higher ground. We stayed on the hill for about seven hours, feeling about 15 aftershocks.

It was cold, dark and surreal. Eventually I was taken to Ica, along with about 12 other Europeans. This morning I got a plane back to Lima with some of the injured people all lying in the aisle, their drips hanging from the ceiling with rope and I was holding one girl¿s bloody head to help stop it banging on the floor. I now only have what I stand in and my passport, but at least I am safe.
Sarah Finn, Lima, was in Paracas when earthquake struck

Injured women lie in hospital in Ica, Peru
Most of the victims are from the coastal province of Ica
Being alone in my hotel room during the earthquake was a terrifying experience. The ceiling began to cave inwards in the corridor and rubble and water poured onto me. Once outside it was absolute chaos, electricity cables were strewn everywhere in our path. The pedestrian street we we're on is now just rubble. People were crying for their loved ones, everyone ran in all directions, small tremors could still be felt. During the night people collected a few things, primarily blankets and started to walk out of the town. My main concern now, however, is the lack of clean water, food and shelter that the local refugees now have.
Carmen Watton, Now in Lima, was in Pisco during the earthquake

I was in Paracas, south of Pisco and north of Ica. I was in my hotel room when it happened. It was very frightening. Everything shook in the hotel and parts of it literally collapsed. We gathered at the front of the hotel. Then someone said we had to move because of a tsunami scare. We then saw the water coming along the road and we all just ran as fast as we could. It was very dark and we just ran for about 15 minutes until we reached higher ground. We stayed on the hill for about seven hours, feeling about 15 aftershocks. It was cold, dark and surreal. Eventually I was taken to Ica, along with about 12 other Europeans. This morning I got a plane back to Lima with some of the injured people all lying in the aisle, their drips hanging from the ceiling with rope and I was holding one girl¿s bloody head to help stop it banging on the floor. I now only have what I stand in and my passport, but at least I am safe.
Sarah Finn, Lima, was in Paracas when earthquake struck

This has been by far the most terrifying experience of my life. Peruvians are always told about the constant danger of a possible earthquake. However, when it's for real, everything changes. When the earthquake struck, lightning caused by the electrical power surges seemed apocalyptic in a city where thunderstorms never occur. Power was not lost in the central areas but some areas of Lima are still without power more than 24 hours later. As a Peruvian I call for all possible help from the EU and the developed countries. Ironically the poorest people of this country are the worst affected by this disaster. We are waiting with open hands for your support.
Juan Martin Cava, Lima, Peru

We were thrown out of bed and ran into the streets. We thought we were being bombed or something. It was very frightening, and my wife and children were screaming, asking me what was happening. We have lost our home but have escaped with our lives thankfully.
Eduardo Moveamio, Pisco, Peru

We are used to the occasional tremors that we receive here, but this quake was nothing like we have experienced before. There were two massive shocks, which lasted for some time. It felt like around two minutes in total with a short break in between. Usually you don't feel a tremor when outside, but we were outside and the pavement was rippling. We fled to the park where the ground continued to move under our feet. What was even more frightening was the roar of the quake coupled with the sky lighting up.

It was surreal. It felt like we had stepped onto the set of a war movie. There was a real sense of fear on the streets. There were people everywhere, and all were afraid of aftershocks and concerned as they could not contact families and friends, as there was no mobile phone reception. We are lucky we live in solid well-built houses, but those living in the shanty towns are not so lucky. We have had two minor tremors since and are expecting more. We are teachers and school has been cancelled for tomorrow.
Bronwyn Davis, Lima, Peru

It was awful. At first I though it was going to finish, but it continued so much longer. Everything was trembling - cars, the floor, walls, and there were odd lights that illuminated the sky many times. People were screaming and hugging because it was so long.
Jessica, Lima, Peru

This was the scariest moment of my life. I'm still quite upset about it. I was stuck on the ninth floor by myself and was not sure whether to run or stay. It is a feeling I don't want to repeat. Apparently the last time there was a big earthquake like this it was followed up a month later by an even bigger one.
Julian Walter, Lima, Peru

We live on the outskirts of Lima and were in a house with some friends when the earthquake struck. We are used to tremors that happen about three or four times a year, but this was different. The ground started to move and it seemed to continue without end. We all rushed into the street but it just continued and we knew immediately that it was something big. The vehicles rocked from side to side and all the windows rattled.
John Udris, Lima, Peru

Unlike the tremors we usually get here, I could actually feel the ground moving beneath my feet, even after we went out of the house. It lasted forever, I've never experienced an earthquake or tremor that lasted so long and I think that was what scared people so much. Right now all the TV stations are asking for blood donations because hospitals in Ica, Pisco and Canete have run out of it already and can't cope with the number of injured people.
Ximena, Lima, Peru

It was a frightening experience. I have experienced tremors before, but never standing out in the street watching the trees swaying, light posts bending, and actually feeling the waves under my feet, with my knees shaking.
Marion Michelsen, Lima, Peru

It was terrible. It's the first time that an earthquake here has lasted more than two minutes. There were many people in the streets crying, shouting, hugging each other. It was awful.
Roxana, Lima

To stand on a wooden floor and feel the whole thing moving underneath your feet makes you realise just how insignificant you are. Truly frightening.
Spencer Bailey, Lima, Peru

This earthquake is the strongest I've ever felt, and the longest one as well, at two minutes. For some it seemed like the end of the world, and most people I know are still nervous. Some were too scared to sleep all night because they feared another one. After the earthquake most people stayed outside their houses for at least an hour.
Berenice, Lima, Peru

I was in the commercial zone in Lima, Miraflores. There were a lot of people in this district and tourists as well, not to mention a lot of traffic. The quake was like nothing I've ever felt before. People took to the streets and many started screaming with panic. Fortunately, Lima in generally is fine. However, the city of Ica is in chaos because many houses and places were destroyed.
Pappo Texaco, Lima, Peru

After the earthquake, all the transportation was blocked by traffic jams and the phone lines are still not working properly. People are really scared because we haven't had an earthquake like this since 1974.
Teresa Quevedo, Lima, Peru

In my 33 years I never experienced such a long and strong earthquake in Peru. It felt like it would never end.
Marcia, Lima, Peru




SEE ALSO
Peru quake: Reader's pictures
18 Aug 07 |  In Pictures
Search for Peru quake survivors
17 Aug 07 |  Americas
In pictures: Peru earthquake
16 Aug 07 |  In Pictures



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