A 5.3-magnitude earthquake in Peru has killed at least four people and injured 55, with several aftershocks following. Prime Minister Fernando Zavala said an emergency will be declared in this zone.
The quake hit at a shallow depth of eight kilometers (five miles) with damage expected to be heavy near the epicenter.
The quake occurred late on Sunday knocking down about 50 homes and cutting off roads and power in the country's southern Arequipa region. The epicenter was 10 kilometers (six miles) from Chivay, the capital of Caylloma province, according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru.
The quake caused damage throughout an area of Arequipa called the Colca Valley, with several villages cut off. "We felt a very strong tremor. It has caused devastation in the whole Colca valley," the mayor of Caylloma, Romulo Tinta, told RPP. "We have no communication links between the surrounding villages," he added. "We are asking for heavy machinery to gain access."
One of the victims was a 66-year-old American who died in a hotel in Yanque, the civil defense service said.
The governor of Arequipa, Yamila Osorio, called for food and clothing to be airlifted to people left homeless by the quake. "We are taking aid to Caylloma and the other districts affected by the earthquake," Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said in a message on Twitter.
Among the worst-hit spots was Yanque, a rural village of mud huts with some 1,200 inhabitants, with about 60 percent of the buildings in the village were destroyed, said local mayor Anastasia Suyco.
Peru is on the so-called "Ring of Fire" - an arc of fault lines that circles the Pacific Basin.
The last serious quake in Peru, which had a magnitude of 7.9 struck on August 15, 2007. Its epicenter was on the central coast, just west of the major city of Pisco. It killed 595 people.
Two major 7.6-magnitude earthquakes hit eastern Peru near the border with Brazil in November 2015.
jbh/kl (AFP, dpa)