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Four Killed as Heavy Waves Flood Port Following Earthquake in Peru

February 22, 1996

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Search boats scoured the waters off northern Peru for victims of an undersea earthquake that killed four fishermen and generated a tidal wave alert on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Japan’s Central Meteorological Agency warned that waves could hit the country’s east coast later today, churned up by Wednesday’s earthquake in Peru.

The quake already created 10- to 16-foot waves in Peru, which swept onto the northern port of Chimbote, burst though the walls of two fish-processing plants and flooded 50 homes.

Four men fishing on shore were bowled over by the waves, which flooded 660 feet inland and sucked out furniture and other personal belongings from homes in Chimbote, a fishing port 225 miles northwest of Lima.

About 80 people were left homeless, said Chimbote firefighter Miguel Milla Bravo.

William Mertz, port captain in Chimbote, said many small boats were damaged by the waves and four search boats were looking for any fishermen who may have braved the rough seas despite warnings against sailing.

He said damage to port facilities was not serious.

The earthquake occurred at 7:51 a.m. under the sea off the Pacific coast, about 130 miles southwest of Chimbote, the Peruvian Geophysics Institute in Lima.

The institute said the quake measured 5.7, but the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 6.7. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancies.

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

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