A series of earthquakes recently struck southern Peru, causing the tragic collapse of the tower of the famous Purisima Concepción Church. Located in the Colca Valley in the Lari district of the Kayroma region in the Arequipa region, the church tower was damaged in the previous earthquake in 2016.
RPP Noticias reports that not only the Purisima Concepción Church but also the foundations of 12 other nearby churches are in danger of collapsing due to infrastructure degradation from recent earthquakes of magnitudes 2.7 to 5.5.
Tower Collapses Amid Earthquakes in Peru
According to the article in Catholic News Agency, Alfonso Mamani, the mayor of Caylloma, emphasized the need for the Ministry of Culture to intervene and rehabilitate all the churches previously damaged by the 2016 earthquake, which left over 250 families homeless. Although restoration projects were already underway, the recent damage necessitated new assessments.
José Panta Mamani, the mayor of the Lari district, appealed for assistance in rebuilding the Purísima Concepción Church and the affected houses. He expressed concerns over the vulnerability of reservoirs, which have shifted and are at risk of collapsing, highlighting the urgent need for authorities to focus their attention on these critical areas. The mayor lamented the current state of the Caylloma province, stating that without proper support, it is on the brink of disappearance as widespread damage has left little hope for its recovery.
The epicenter of the earthquake was the Maca district. In addition to the collapse of the church tower, numerous homes in neighboring areas, such as Tisco, Lari, Ichupampa and Achoma, were also damaged. In the article in the National Catholic Register, the effects of seismic activity also included landslides on highways and in the Madrigal area.
To deal with the emergency, the Kairoma municipality in the Maka district set up an emergency shelter to provide residents with a safe place to stay. Work continues to assess and repair the extensive damage as the region grapples with the aftermath of these devastating earthquakes.
Earthquake Destructing Churches
Two powerful earthquakes shook Turkey's ancient city of Antakya, leading to the destruction of the Antioch Orthodox Church, the world's oldest church, and the Habibie Nejar Mosque, Turkey's oldest mosque. According to Euronews, the dome and walls of the 1st-century Antakya church have completely collapsed, making it unsuitable for prayer. Church officer Sertak Paul Bozkurt expressed deep sorrow and despair at the life-threatening loss of about 30-35 communion members. Bozkurt stressed the historical importance of Antakya as the birthplace of Christianity and called on Christians around the world to help rebuild the Antakya church.
The destruction of the Habib-i-Nejjar Mosque, of great religious importance, also shocked Antakya's Muslims. Built-in the 7th century, this mosque was a revered place for local Muslims, especially on important occasions such as Qadr night and the holy month of Ramadan. The loss of the mosque was deeply felt by the local community, as it had spiritual significance and was a place of pilgrimage for Turks and Muslims to visit before traveling to Mecca.