The UN has mobilised $one million for relief operations and is rushing food and other forms of assistance to Peru, devastated by a powerful earthquake which killed nearly 500 people.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that at least 1,500 people have been injured and nearly 400 homes destroyed by the temblor, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, whose epicentre was 161 kilometres away from capital Lima.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his "deep sadness" over the deaths and destruction resulting from the quake and pledged continued assistance to those affected.
"The United Nations is in close contact with the Peru government and stands ready to support relief efforts with measures, including the release of emergency funds and the deployment of a team of disaster assessment and coordination experts," the UN chief spokesperson said.
Hotels, health centres and hospitals have been affected, and in some areas, electricity and communications have been impacted.
OCHA and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced that they had released two grants totalling $200,000 to provide immediate relief in the earthquake's aftermath.
Nearly $one million has been mobilized among several UN agencies on the ground, and a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and search-and-rescue teams are on standby to assist, UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Margareta Wahlstrvm told reporters at UN Headquarters.