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Rescuers in Peru Struggle to Aid Hundreds of Earthquake Victims


Aid workers in Peru are struggling to rescue hundreds of people after a massive earthquake ravaged the country's coast, killing at least 337.

Authorities say hundreds of victims of Wednesday night's seven-point-nine magnitude quake are still trapped or stranded in port cities off the coast of central Peru. Roads destroyed by the quake have hampered rescue efforts.

The earthquake and several aftershocks injured more than 800 people. The quake lasted a total of two minutes and caused massive damage and mudslides across the country.

Many buildings collapsed or suffered structural damage including hospitals, which are now overrun with victims in dire need of treatment.

President Alan Garcia declared a state of emergency today, prompting international relief efforts.

Pope Benedict has called on churches and other Roman Catholic organizations to provide assistance.

The U.S.-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had issued a tsunami warning for the South and Central American Pacific coast (in the nations of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica) following the quake, but later canceled it.

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