At least 13 dead after powerful earthquake hits Ecuador and northern Peru | Ecuador

A powerful earthquake struck southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least 13 people, trapping others under rubble and sending rescue teams onto streets littered with debris and downed power lines.

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

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said in a televised address that the earthquake killed 12 people. In a tweet, he also urged people to remain calm.

Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola said a four-year-old girl had died from head trauma sustained when her home collapsed in the Tumbes region on the border with Ecuador.

Cristian Torres, head of the risk management secretariat of Ecuador’s emergency agency, said in a radio interview that 11 of the country’s victims died in the coastal state of El Oro and one in the highland state of Azuay.

The victim in Azuay’s Andean community of Cuenca was a passenger in a vehicle that was crushed by debris from a house, the agency said.

In the coastal province of El Oro, people were trapped under rubble, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and the walls of a building collapsed, trapping an unknown number of people.

Machala resident Fabricio Cruz said he was in his third floor apartment when he felt severe shaking and saw his TV hit the floor. He immediately set off.

“I heard my neighbors screaming and there was a lot of noise,” said Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer. He added that as he looked around, he noticed the collapsed roofs of the surrounding houses.

The agency said firefighters were working to save people while national police assessed the damage. Their work was complicated by downed wires that disrupted phone and electricity services.

In Guayaquil, about 170 miles southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks on buildings and houses and some collapsed walls. The authorities ordered the closure of three vehicle tunnels.

Videos shared on social media show people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and in nearby communities, and people reported objects falling into their homes.

A video posted online showed three TV presenters jump off her studio desk as her set shook. They initially tried to dismiss the tremors as minor tremors, but soon fled the camera. One host hinted that the show would be going on a commercial break, while another reiterated, “My god, my god.”

A report by the Ecuadorian Directorate for Surveillance of Adverse Events ruled out a tsunami risk.

The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from the northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No dead or injured 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 concentrated farther north on the Pacific coast in a sparsely populated area of ​​the country killed more than 600 people.


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