EARTHQUAKE – August 15, 2007
[Jaqaru is spoken by a few thousand people in and around Tupe, Yauyos, Lima, Peru and by immigrants from Tupe in the cities of Lima, Huancayo, Chincha, and Cañete. Tupe is at 10,000 feet altitude in the Andes. Jaqaru is an endangered language. See http://grove.ufl.edu/~hardman/ ]
On August 15, 2007 Tupe was destroyed by the Earthquake. We were there, in Lima, on the third floor. The first, variously labeled as being 7.8-8, lasted about 2 minutes; less than a minute later there was another (at the time we thought it was one long one) there was one a 7.5 that lasted for nearly 5 minutes. Our building swayed, but no cracks or broken windows; it is new and was built to antisismic standards, and Lima was not near the epicenter. The coastal cities that suffered severe damage were Pisco (destroyed also), Cañete, Chincha and Ica. As usual, there has been virtually no attention to the mountains; and the need on the coast is immense. In Yauyos, Tupe was destroyed and Laraos suffered 50% damage. There was also damage in Aysha and Qullqa. We don’t have information yet on Cachuy.
95% of the houses collapsed. By a miracle, there was only one death, a young boy crushed together with his lamb and his little dog by a falling wall. Apparently, he was anxious to get his two younger siblings out. A woman, trying to reach him, was badly injured by falling debris. The younger children, buried in the rubble, were dug out fast enough that they suffered no serious injury. At least 3 other sheep, in the patios of houses, were killed.
The miracle was the herranza (a very elaborate cow-branding festival) of Anatolia Evangelista Sanabria. At 6:41 in the evening almost all of the residents of Tupe were down on the flood plain of the Qucxapaya River dancing, absolutely the safest place to be in an Earthquake, where even the rocks falling from the mountains do not reach. This can be seen in the two photographs: one including part the town (that is now in ruins) and one from lower down giving an idea of the size of the flat area. I wonder what they must have felt as they looked up and watched the town crumble. The reports so far are of weeping and grieving. And coping.
There was no place to sleep; even the few standing houses are cracked and dangerous. People for many days slept on the plaza and ate from a common pot. The road, which had been inaugurated only a few years ago, was severely damaged. The Tupinos have already repaired the road themselves. The have also reestablished the electricity and the telephone and the repair of the canals is largely complete.
The Earthquake happened on Wednesday. On Friday the Residents of Tupe in Lima held a meeting and elected a Comisión de Donaciones. From among the residents themselves, within a few days, the gathered a truckful of relief items and took it to Tupe. Also, the congresswoman for Yauyos took food supplies. After the first load the Residentes organized further efforts; all immediate necessities have been met. There are now enough tents, enough blankets and enough food, because of the immediate response of Tupinos living outside of Tupe.
Earlier, in July a meeting had been held in which the whole town joined with the teachers and the authorities local and national to make a profound decision in favor of the preservation of the Jaqaru language. For the first time it looked like there was a chance for Jaqaru; the school now lies in ruins. [additional information under ‘noticias’ at: http://www.latam.ufl.edu/hardman/jaqaru/jaqaru.htm ]. The children are still not back in school; the teachers are discouraged – no building, no students, no materials. The Jaqaru language, already endangered, is now even more vulnerable. Just as it looked like the efforts for revitalization and preservation would bear fruit, there is this additional blow.
The rains will begin in November. Reconstruction is urgent before the rains come. The Residentes en Lima have met and committed themselves to that reconstruction. In terms of the language, such reconstruction is crucial to its very survival.
Dimas and I are doing what we can to help as much as possible from here. If you would like to help, please contact us. – MJ Hardman & Dimas Bautista Iturrizaga