Huaraz remembers the devastating earthquake of 1970

O n May 31st in 1970, it was like a normal afternoon in the cities of Huaraz, Yungay, Chimbote and Casma, when at approximately 3:25 p.m. the earth started to shake violently and everything began to collapse. According to figures from the National Institute of Civil Defense, it concerned the most violent earthquake in the history of Peru. The epicenter was located on the coast of Ancash, which destroyed more than 60% of the houses and left about 80,000 dead and 200,000 people missing.

The city of Huaraz got destroyed for 97% and the Plaza de Armas was the only important thing that was not destroyed. After the violent earthquake the city was obscured by a black cloak of dust and about 10,000 people died. In the public college Santa Elena 400 people died. In Yungay a block of rock and ice broke free from the north side of Huascarán, causing an avalanche that released over three million tons of mud, rock and ice from an almost vertical drop of over 3000 meters, and generating a speed of 320 km per hour. It took this rock slide just three minute to raze the town of Ranrahirca and the city of Yungay. Only a small group of people who had run to the cemetery located on a nearby hill, and a group of children attending a matinee at Verolina circus survived. All the mud and stones that fell was contained in the Cordillera Negra generating a dam on the Santa River, affecting the Canyon del Pato hydroelectric station at Huallanca, located some kilometers farther north, which stopped working leaving the area without electricity. After the earthquake and the mudslide, only four trees remained standing where the main square used to be. The statue of Christ on the hill of the cemetery was a silent witness to what happened that tragic afternoon.

Thanks to international aid people affected by the earthquake received food and shelter. The government created a national entity for emergency response – nowadays known as INDECI. Search and rescue continued for several days, with the recovered bodies being buried in mass graves. Many families migrated to other cities so their children could continue studying.

The Peruvian government declared Yungay a national cemetery and a monument has been built to remember the deceased. The palm trees of the plaza of Yungay´s original centre, bits of wall and part of the cathedral and the crumpled remains of a bus can still be seen during the tour to the Llanganuco Lakes. The town is now a graveyard and a monument to Peru´s worst human tragedy. Forty seven years have gone by; however, Yungay is still towered over by Peru´s biggest mountain the Huascarán. Let´s just hope that history will not repeat itself.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

*

Sport Rosario drawn in ´group of death´ for Summer Tournament

Like last year, Peru´s football season will contain three short tournaments; the Summer Tournament, followed by the Apertura Tournament and […]

TAS rules against Sport Ancash and will play non-league football next season

13 months after Sport Ancash controversially lost the play-off match that would’ve sent them into Peru’s top division; the CAS […]

Huaraz-born trail runner gets respectable mention in AusTRAILia Runner Magazine

Trail runner Hernán Henostroza Gamarra from Huaraz has now also caught the attention of the international press as he appeared […]

INAIGEM installs real time monitoring system for Lake Palcacocha

As part of its research functions in glacier and lake dangers, the National Institute of Glacier and Mountain Ecosystem Research […]

Head HNP: ¨People responsible for fireworks in our park will be sanctioned¨

Engineer Jesús Gómez López, head of the Huascarán National Park has spoken out on the detonation of fireworks during the […]

No need for a crystal ball to predict the future of Huaraz

During a short holiday to the north of Peru, I got to see how much repair work the respective local […]

Another foreign tourist goes missing in Peru

Ecuadorian – Spanish national Nathaly Salazar Ayala is another foreign tourist in Peru who has gone missing. The 28-year-old intended […]

New entrance fees in 2018 for Huascaran National Park, archaeological sites and museums

The office of the Huascarán National Park has just published the new rates to enter the Huascarán National Park.  The […]

Irresponsible visitors of Huascarán National Park set off fireworks to celebrate New Year

On their Facebook page, Huaraz Guides have reported and at the same time heavily condemned an attack against wildlife and […]

Video surveillance cameras capture paranormal activity in Huaraz

During a routine day of street surveillance in Huaraz, the cameras of the Provincial Municipality caught a car with young […]

Local guide shares search details and reveals that Jesse Galganov was last seen in Taullipampa

Earlier this week, the editor of The Huaraz Telegraph spoke with Beto Pinto Toledo, manager and founder of local tourism […]

Meet cebiche de chocho, Huaraz’s hearty food icon

Perhaps one of the most popular local dishes of Huaraz, yet one which is often overlooked by travellers, is cebiche […]

Local newspaper spreads painful fake news on Jesse Galganov

What was announced as a huge scoop on the front page of the Friday morning edition of local newspaper Prensa […]

No visits to Pastoruri Glacier; access road closed until the 29th of December

Jesús López Gómez, head of the Huascarán National Park (SERNANP – Huaraz) informed the press and agencies in Huaraz and […]

Memories of the 76th anniversary of the glacial lake outburst of 1941

In 1941, while Europe was suffering the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties, Huaraz and […]

Priest involved in US pedophile scandal now preaches in Chimbote

Last night, Cuarto Poder, a journalistic research programme broadcasted on America T.V. (channel 4 in Peru) revealed that a priest […]

Sport Rosario extends contracts and will participate in the Copa Sudamericana

On Sunday the 3rd of December, the last matches for the Clausura Tournament of the Primera División were played and […]

Weather expert warns Huaraz will not be spared from waterlogging

University professor and local meteorologist Rafael Figueroa Tauquino lamented that despite of the warnings realised by the Santiago Antúnez de […]