peru070817

News of the Peruvian quake has made it difficult to concentrate on preparations for the Saskatoon Folkfest, volunteer Janet Figueroa said. ((CBC))

News of a deadly earthquake that struck Peru is hittinghard thousands of kilometres away in Saskatoon.

Members ofSaskatchewan's small Peruvian community were reeling after hearinghundreds of people have been confirmed dead in the magnitude-8 quake that struck their homeland Wednesday.

Officials said Friday the death toll from the earthquake had risen to 510. Hundredsmore have beeninjured.

Mauricio Carmona, one of the organizers of a first-ever Peruvian pavilion at Saskatoon's annual ethnic festival, Folkfest, said Thursday found him"full of energy, trying to get the final things ready for the pavilion and we woke up to the bad news."

Carmona's wife was on the phone all day Thursday calling family. Although they believe they are all safe, it's been a difficult time for them and other Peruvian families in Saskatoon.

"It was difficult to actually even focus on what we were doing because our minds and hearts are with the people in Peru as well," said volunteer Janet Figueroa.

The Peruvian pavilion will be collecting money to donate to the Red Cross's disaster efforts.

"We're also planning on having a couple of minutes of silence to respect the people who went through such a sad moment,"Carmona said.

Although the Peruvian community in Saskatoon is composed of onlyabout 10 families, they'll pull together to help those suffering in Peru, Carmona said.