This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Peru's Capital Highly Vulnerable To Major Quake

"How are the injured going to be attended to? What is the ability of hospitals to respond? Of basic services? Water, energy, food reserves? I don't think this is being addressed with enough responsibility," said Tavera of the Geophysical Institute.

By necessity, most injured will be treated where they fall, but Peru's police have no comprehensive first-aid training. Only Lima's 4,000 firefighters, all volunteers, have such training, as does a 1,000-officer police emergency squadron.

But because the firefighters are volunteers, a quake's timing could influence rescue efforts.

"If you go to a fire station at 10 in the morning there's hardly anyone there," said Gonzalez, who advocates a full-time professional force.

In the next two months, Lima will spend nearly $2 million on the three fire companies that cover downtown Lima, its first direct investment in firefighters in 25 years, Prado said. The national government is spending $18 million citywide for 50 new fire trucks and ambulances.

But where would the ambulances go?

A 1997 study by the Pan American Health Organization found that three of Lima's principal public hospitals would likely collapse in a major quake, but nothing has been done to reinforce them.

And there are no free beds. One public hospital, Maria Auxiliadora, serves more than 1.2 million people in Lima's south but has just 400 beds, and they are always full.

Contingency plans call for setting up mobile hospitals in tents in city parks. But Gonzalez said only about 10,000 injured could be treated.

Water is also a worry. The fire threat to Lima is severe â¿¿ from refineries to densely-backed neighborhoods honeycombed with colonial-era wood and adobe. Lima's firefighters often can't get enough water pressure to douse a blaze.

"We should have places where we can store water not just to put out fires but also to distribute water to the population," said Sato, former head of the disaster mitigation department at Peru's National Engineering University.

3 of 5

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,090.11 +1.24 0.06%
NASDAQ 5,127.5250 +11.3820 0.22%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs