Lia Pikus Huascaran Avalanche

by isanz
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies

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Lia Pikus Huascaran Avalanche

What Events Took Place?*An undersea earthquake was the main factor that set off the avalanche*This was called the Anacash Earthquake, and it struck Peru on May 31, 1970* This caused an enormus amound of snow and ice to plummet off of the nearby Huascaran Mountain*The avalanche demolished a whole town, (the town of Yungay) and there were only around 400 survivors

The Huascaran Avalanche

By Lia Pikus

The town that was buried, Yungay, was never excavated from the snow, because the government declared it a national cemetery, so obviously it hasn’t been inhabited since.

Well, since the avalanche brought down mud and dirty water, the town was not only destroyed, but unable to be inhabited for a while in fear of diseases and infections brought by the avalanche. Also, the avalanche destroyed many sanitation facilities, which was a big concern for disease prevention.

What were some health concerns during and after the disaster?

“We were on our way from Yungay to Caraz when the earthquake struck,” survivor Mateo Casaverde recalls.“When we stepped out of the car, the earthquake was almost over. Then we heard a deep, low rumble, something distinct from the noise an earthquake makes, but not too different. It came from the Huascarán. Then we saw, half-way between Yungay and the mountain, a giant cloud of dust. Part of the Huascarán was coming toward us. It was approximately 3:24. Where we were, the only place that offered us relative security, was the cemetery, built upon an artificial hill, like a pre-Incan tomb. We ran approximately 100 meters before we got to the cemetery. Once I reached the top, I turned to see Yungay. I could clearly see a giant wave of gray mud, about 60 meters high. Moments later, the landslide hit the cemetery, about five meters below our feet. The sky went dark because of all the dust, mostly from all of the destroyed homes. We turned to look, and Yungay, as well as its thousands of inhabitants, had completely disappeared.”

Survivor Story

What were/are the lasting effects of this disaster?

It completely ruiend the town, and the few survivors were in deep mournign for quite some time. Because the avalanche destroyed so many people of such a specific culture, many of that town's traditions and practices have been lost along with the people.

How has it changed the culture and society?



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