Deaths reported after strong earthquake hits Ecuador and northern Peru | Ecuador

A strong earthquake rocked southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least four people, trapping others under rubble and sending rescue teams to streets littered with debris and downed power lines .

The US Geological Survey reported a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the coastal region of Guayas. Its center was about 80 kilometers south of Guayaquil, which has a metropolitan area of ​​more than 3 million people.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to stay calm.

The South American country’s emergency response agency, the Secretariat for Risk Management, reported that one person died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a vehicle stuck under the rubble of a house.

In the coastal province of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under rubble, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-storey house collapsed before people could be evacuated, a pier gave way and the walls of a building cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.

The agency said firefighters were working to rescue people while national police assessed the damage, their job made more difficult by downed lines that disrupted phone and power service.

In Guayaquil, about 270 km southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and houses, as well as collapsed walls. Authorities have ordered the closure of three vehicle tunnels.

Videos shared on social media show people gathering in the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities and people reporting objects falling inside their homes.

A video uploaded showed three TV presenters jumping out of their studio office as their whole shook. They initially tried to dismiss the tremors as a minor earthquake, but quickly ran away from the camera. One presenter indicated that the show would take a commercial break, while another repeated, “My God, my God.”

A report from Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate ruled out a tsunami threat.

The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.

Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake centered further north on the Pacific coast in a less populated area of ​​the country killed more than 600 people.


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