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In wake of Peru earthquake, Annan says UN stands ready to aid relief efforts

In wake of Peru earthquake, Annan says UN stands ready to aid relief efforts

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of life and destruction caused by the earthquake that struck southern Peru on Saturday, and extended his condolences to the Peruvian Government and the families of the victims.

A spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement that the Secretary-General was "gratified by the solidarity being shown by the international community in the response to this tragic event," and reiterated the UN's commitment to assist in the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said today it was working closely with the Peruvian authorities in response to the earthquake. PAHO disaster experts had arrived in Peru on Sunday and were supporting Ministry of Health and Civil Defence authorities in assessing needs, evaluating damages, and providing health services to the population.

According to PAHO, which serves as the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), water was now distributed by tanker trucks in Moquegua, the most affected city, where the water and sewage systems had collapsed.

The Peruvian Ministry of Health's disaster programme was meeting today to draw up a list of necessary supplies and medicines, and with support from PAHO was sending experts in hospital equipment and infrastructure evaluation to Arequipa, Tacna and Moquegua, whose hospitals had been damaged by the earthquake.

According to PAHO, the earthquake left some 70 dead, 1,200 injured and about 10,000 homeless.