Peru is to hold three days of mourning for the victims of the earthquake that left hundreds dead. Peruvians have pulled scores of bodies from the rubble of homes and churches as corpses pile up on street corners. Firefighters, civil defence officials and the UN say around 500 people have died with some 2000 injured in the quake which measured 8.0 on the Richter scale. The number of dead is expected to rise.
The town of Pisco, south of the capital Lima, was hit hard. At least 50 bodies were laid out in the main square. A church collapsed during a service. Peruvian President Alan Garcia declared all public buildings would be closed for three days including schools, military bases and museums.
Hospitals are overwhelmed with the injured, and morgues struggling to cope with the dead. International help is on the way. The Red Cross is to begin flights from Panama carrying much needed tents and blankets while the EU, the UN, Canada and the US have announced aid packages.