Peru's school supplies lost in fire

Posted: March 11, 2012

LIMA, Peru - A fire at Peru's main state educational materials warehouse destroyed a half-million textbooks, 61,000 laptop computers, and 6,000 solar panels that had been destined for schools in poor rural communities.

Education Minister Patricia Salas estimated the loss at $103 million, and it comes just as Peru's school year begins.

Salas told reporters Friday that the overnight blaze "affects prospects for thousands of Peruvian children to begin classes with the materials and services the state had for them."

The destroyed computers were purchased from the U.S.-based nonprofit One Laptop per Child Association, which provides rugged, low-cost computers to the world's most isolated and poorest children.

Peruvian officials said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.

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