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Tidal Wave Floods Port Following Earthquake in Peru

February 21, 1996

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ A tidal wave caused by a large undersea earthquake burst through the walls of two fish-processing plants in the northern port of Chimbote today, injuring three people.

The tsunami also flooded 50 homes in a shantytown near the shore in Chimbote, a fishing port 225 miles northwest of Lima. Officials did not say how big the wave was. There were no other immediate reports of damage or injury.

Chimbote firefighter Miguel Milla Bravo said the sea swept away furniture and personal belongings in half the flooded homes and left about 80 people homeless.

The earthquake happened at 7:51 a.m. (7:51 EST) under the sea off the Pacific coast, about 130 miles southwest of Chimbote, the National Civil Defense Institute said. The wave was reported a few minutes later.

Seismologists at the Peruvian Geophysics Institute measured the quake’s magnitude at 5.7.

U.S. Geological Survey seismographs recorded the temblor at 6.7 magnitude and placed its epicenter about 90 miles southwest of Chimbote, a city of 300,000. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy in the readings.

An earthquake of magnitude 6 is capable of causing severe damage to a populated area.

The Civil Defense Institute said the quake was felt in Chimbote and in the mountain city of Huaraz, 175 miles north of Lima.

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