• Short Summary

    Last week's Peruvian earthquake is now being described as the as the worst disaster of its kind in living memory.

  • Description

    Last week's Peruvian earthquake is now being described as the as the worst disaster of its kind in living memory. Death toll estimates range up to 50,000, but the actual number will never be known. Thousands of bodies lie buried under rubble and the sides of entire mountains which crashed down onto towns and villages.

    Relief teams have now managed to reach some of the stricken centres of the quake but many more are still cut off and frantic calls for help are pouring into government centres.

    Rescue officials have said the situation in these towns and villages is worsening because of outbreaks of disease. It's feared, many of those who survived the quake will fall victims to typhoid unless they can be reached soon.

    In the centres which relief and medical teams have been able to reach, palls of smoke spiral into the air as piles of corpses are cremate in crude crematoriums.

    For the bereaved this has been a double blow, because cremation is strictly taboo in the strong roman Catholic influenced region. But officials have no choice if they are to prevent outbreaks of epidemic. There is simply not the time nor the facilities for burial.

    As aid now continues to flow into the devastated area, survivors are choosing to sleep and live in the open in case further tremors bring what is left of homes and buildings crashing down around them.

    Overnight temperatures in the area drop below the zero reading.

    Nearly a million homeless and wounded, including one hundred thousand children, have waited desperately for aid for a week since the earthquake destroyed towns, villages, roads and airstrips in the Huaylas valley.

    One American relief worker linked the destruction to that of Hiroshima after the Atom Bomb was dropped during the Second World War.

    Supplies have been flown into the northern port of Chimbote for airlifting by helicopter into the valley. Many smaller runways at towns throughout the valley still have to be cleared and lengthened to allow the big transport aircraft to land.

    At Huarez, the wrecked capital of the valley region, troops have been labouring around the clock to lengthen a makeshift runway.

    Peruvian presidential spokesman, Augusto Zimmerman, has described the disaster as "of unimaginable proportions."
    The people of the Andes are stunned and bewildered by the massive quake which suddenly brought their quiet, unassuming way of life to the attention of the world.

    These descendants of the proud Inca nation, have followed their strong Catholic beliefs and village way of life almost unaffected by the changing world around them.

    In the colourful market places villagers bargained and haggled over produce and clothing. The centre piece of each town was the church.

    Now, their lives are buried in the ruins of their towns.

    In the meantime, the survivors huddle together in flimsy shelters of cardboard, paper and plastic sheeting and awaiting relief, before they may even begin to consider rebuilding their shattered lives.

    SYNOPSIS: The Andes, one of the world's great mountain ranges and backbone of the South American continent.

    These mountains and their intervening valleys, are also home for many of Peru's 13 million people.

    Many of them, proud descendants of the great Inca nation, have made their homes in this region for centuries.

    This film was shot by British comedian, Michael Bentine, during a recent visit to his parent's homeland.

    In it, he captured the life of these simple folk who have followed their strong Roman Catholic beliefs and village way of life almost unaffected by the changing world around them.

    In the colourful market places townsfolk spent their Sunday afternoons meeting and bargaining over produce for sale.

    Theirs was a contented and peaceful way of life. Now people all over the world are being asked to contribute funds to help these same people.

    Last Sunday (May 31) as people went about their normal activities, the ground began to heave and shake as the worst earthquake in living memory rocked the Huaylas Valley.

    People ran terror-stricken into the streets as their homes and buildings crashed to the ground around them. One town of 20-thousand people was buried under a sea of mud as the massive quake split the rock wall of a mountain lake.

    Latest estimates place the death toll at around 50,000, but the actual number will never be known. Thousands of bodies lie buried under rubble and the sides of mountains which crashed down onto towns and villages.

    Relief teams have now managed to reach some of the stricken centres in the earthquake zone, but many more are still cut off the frantic calls for help are pouring into government centres.

    Rescue officials have said the situation in these areas is worsening because of outbreaks of disease. In many cases available drinking water is contaminated. It's feared many of those who survived the horror of the quake will fall victim to typhoid unless they can be reached soon.

    In the centres which relief and medical teams have been able to reach, palls of smoke spiral into the air as piles of corpses are cremated in crude crematoriums.

    For the bereaved this has been a double blow, because cremation is strictly taboo in the strongly Roman Catholic influenced area.

    But the concern of the relief workers must be kept for the care and treatment of the living. If the epidemic is to be prevented, the dead must be disposed of quickly.

    As aid now continues to flow into the stricken area, many survivors who are not in hospital are choosing to live and sleep in the open in case further tremors bring what is left of homes and buildings down around them.

    Overnight temperatures in the region drop below the zero reading.

    Supplies have been flown into the northern port of Chimbote for airlifting by helicopter into the Huaylas Valley. Many smaller runways at towns throughout the valley still have to be cleared and lengthened to allow the big transport aircraft to land. At Huarez, wrecked capital of the valley region, troops have been labouring around the clock to lengthen a makeshift runway.

    Nearly a million homeless and injured including one hundred thousand children, have waited desperately for aid for a week since the earthquake destroyed towns, villages roads & airstrips.

    Peruvian Presidential spokesman, Augusto Zimmerman, has described the disaster as "of unimaginable proportions."
    Money and aid are flowing in from many parts of the world.

    In the meantime, the survivors huddle together in flimsy shelters of cardboard, paper and plastic sheeting, awaiting the relief they need before they may even consider rebuilding their shattered lives.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4F4FL6WPEJ9KHYUF4NERZAD79
    Media URN:
    VLVA4F4FL6WPEJ9KHYUF4NERZAD79
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    07/06/1970
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:04:17:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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