Protests in Peru a year after major quake

Por Venezuela Real - 15 de Agosto, 2008, 18:32, Categoría: Injerencia de/en Venezuela

The Associated Press
Washington Post
 August 15, 2008

LIMA, Peru -- Residents of Peru's southern coast took to the streets Friday to protest the government's response to an magnitude-8.0 earthquake a year ago that left tens of thousands homeless.

The Aug. 15, 2008 quake killed more than 500 people and destroyed more than 40,000 homes on Peru's southern coast, where many residents still scrape by in tents or makeshift wood huts provided by the government.

In Pisco, a port city that lost more than 11,000 homes to the quake, protesters marched through the streets banging on pots and pans. The cities of Ica and Chincha held simultaneous strikes and demonstrations to demand the government speed up reconstruction.

President Alan Garcia says 30,000 families have received government bonds worth US$2,045 (euro1,400) to help build new homes, and bonds for another 8,000 families are pending.

But Garcia acknowledged this week that he is not satisfied with the pace of the US$382 million (euro260 million) effort. He said 8,000 "small houses" have gone up since the earthquake, but it was not clear if that number included temporary huts.

Romulo Triveno, the governor of Ica province where the earthquake hit, said only 850 homes have been rebuilt _ and credited Venezuela's government and foreign aid groups.

"At this rate reconstruction will last 10 years, and a generation of our citizens, of our children, will be raised in inequality because they live in huts and have nowhere to study," Triveno told Peru's congress on Thursday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez donated 100 homes to families in Chincha, where about 17,500 homes were destroyed. Ica lost about 14,000 homes.

Friday was decreed a national day of mourning, and public buildings flew the Peruvian flag at half-staff.

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