Strong earthquake kills at least 14 in Ecuador, 1 in Peru

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QUITO, Ecuador — A powerful earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at the least 15 folks, trapping others below rubble, and sending rescue groups out into streets suffering from particles and fallen energy strains.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered simply off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest metropolis. One of many victims died in Peru, whereas 14 others died in Ecuador, the place authorities additionally reported that at the least 126 folks have been injured.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso instructed reporters the earthquake had “undoubtedly … generated alarm within the inhabitants.” Lasso’s workplace in an announcement mentioned 12 of the victims died within the coastal state of El Oro and two within the highlands state of Azuay.

In Peru, the earthquake was felt from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola mentioned a 4-year-old woman died from head trauma she suffered within the collapse of her house within the Tumbes area, on the border with Ecuador.

One of many victims in Azuay was a passenger in a automobile crushed by rubble from a home within the Andean group of Cuenca, in response to the Threat Administration Secretariat, Ecuador’s emergency response company.

In El Oro, the company additionally reported that a number of folks have been trapped below rubble. In the neighborhood of Machala, a two-story house collapsed earlier than folks may evacuate, a pier gave means and a constructing’s partitions cracked, trapping an unknown variety of folks.

The company mentioned firefighters labored to rescue folks whereas the Nationwide Police assessed harm, their work made harder by downed strains that interrupted phone and electrical energy service.

Machala resident Fabricio Cruz mentioned he was in his third-floor condo when he felt a powerful tremor and noticed his tv hit the bottom. He instantly headed out.

“I heard how my neighbors have been shouting and there was plenty of noise,” mentioned Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer. He added that when he seemed round, he observed the collapsed roofs of close by homes.

Ecuador’s authorities additionally reported damages to well being care facilities and colleges. Lasso mentioned he would journey on Saturday to El Oro.

In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and houses, in addition to some collapsed partitions. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchors a metro space of over 3 million folks.

Movies shared on social media present folks gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and close by communities. Individuals reported objects falling inside their properties.

One video posted on-line confirmed three anchors of a present dart from their studio desk because the set shook. They initially tried to shake it off as a minor quake however quickly fled off digicam. One anchor indicated the present would go on a industrial break, whereas one other repeated, “My God, my God.”

Luis Tomalá was fishing with others when the earthquake struck. He mentioned their boat started transferring “like a racehorse, we bought scared, and after we turned on the radio, we heard in regards to the earthquake.” That’s when his group, Tomalá mentioned, determined to remain at sea fearing a tsunami may develop.

A report from Ecuador’s Hostile Occasions Monitoring Directorate dominated out a tsunami risk.

Peruvian authorities mentioned the previous partitions of an Military barracks collapsed in Tumbes.

Ecuador is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. In 2016, a quake centered farther north on the Pacific Coast in a extra sparsely populated space of the nation killed more than 600 people.

Machala pupil Katherine Cruz mentioned her house shook so badly that she couldn’t even rise up to depart her room and flee to the road.

“It was horrible. I had by no means felt something like this in my life,” she mentioned. ___

Related Press writers Regina Garcia Cano in Caracas, Venezuela, and Franklin Briceño in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.


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