I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine, Justin Umlah, who called to relay a story that provides yet another compelling reason why it makes sense to own a BlackBerry.

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Peru last night, killing hundreds of people, and injuring many more. Peru's civil defence agency says at least 337 people perished in the quake,  1,300 were injured, and that the death toll was expected to rise. The massive earthquake also cracked and cut off roadways and left thousands without power and communications.

Justin's dad James was in Peru yesterday when the earthquake hit. During the hours that followed, the two (each long-time BlackBerry users) were able to maintain communication by emailing back and forth via their BlackBerries, even though Peru's local landline and cellular communications were largely out of commission. Justin, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and currently living in Champaign, Illinois, told me that when he called Canada's Disaster Emergency line to try and get more information for his dad, he was informed they didn't have any news as they had lost communication with the Canadian Embassy in Peru over an hour ago. Justin also spent an hour trying to call through to Peru direct, with no success.

It seems that even though phone and cellular communications were heavily effected by the earthquake, the small packet transmission that BlackBerry email utilizes was able to continue in the hours following the tragic event. Justin summed it up on the phone, "Without communication with my dad, last night would have been even worse for us. Neither of us will ever consider traveling without our BlackBerrys."

CrackBerry.com sends its blessings to all those effected by the Earthquake.