At least 1,000 people are feared to have been killed by a gigantic landslide which destroyed the small Andean mining village of Chungar in Peru last Thursday (18 March).
At least 1,000 people are feared to have been killed by a gigantic landslide which destroyed the small Andean mining village of Chungar in Peru last Thursday (18 March). And while bodies are still being found by rescue workers, vital relief supplies were still not getting through yesterday (Saturday).
This film was shot by Panamericana Television of Peru. The poor quality, which is below our usual standard, is due to the film having been transmitted by satellite, then telerecorded in turn by Spanish television and Visnews (off the Eurovision circuit). This has enabled us to service the story at least a day faster than would normally to possible.
SYNOPSIS: Rescue work is continuing in the mountain village of Chungar in Peru. Last Thursday, a landslide shattered the small village. At least 1,000 people are believed to have been killed. It took 24 hours before news of the disaster reached Lima, the capital of Peru. The Civil Guard, which is carrying out rescue work, said the village was practically buried by an avalanche of mud and rocks after a mountain lake spilled its banks and a torrent of rocks and water cascaded into the valley below.
By Saturday, 48 hours after the landslide, only 215 survivors and 50 bodies had been found. A copper mining company, which employed most of the workers in the village, has issued a list of 241 people known to have disappeared. It includes 160 children and 43 women.
While the rescue operation continues, more and more bodies are being found. According to one survivor, a mass of rocks fell into Lake Yanahuarina. The lake overflowed and a huge wave 60 feet high buried Chungar under thousands of tons of rocks, mud and water.
The survivors and rescue workers have complained at the delay in getting relief supplies to the village. Trucks loaded with blankets and food have not been able to get through to the village, which is 13,000 feet up in the Andes. Roads have been partly destroyed or covered with debris.
Only last May, Peru was hit by another natural disaster. An earth-quake in North Central Peru killed between 50,000 and 70,000 people and shattered 46 towns. In the Huaylas valley, a complete town was washed away by a burst lake, killing 15,000. In June, the government warned that many more villages might suffer a similar fate if other tremors damaged the rock walls of lakes high on the mountain slopes. That's what happened here.