Strong earthquake kills at least 12 in Ecuador, 1 in Peru

QUITO, Ecuador — A powerful earthquake rocked southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least 13 people, trapping others under rubble and sending rescue teams out into the rubble-strewn streets. and the power line is broken.

The United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered just off the Pacific coast, about 50 miles from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second largest city. 80 km) to the south. Twelve victims died in Ecuador, while one died in Peru.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters the quake “without a doubt… has created alarm among the population.” in the highland state of Azuay.

In Peru, the earthquake was felt from the northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola said a 4-year-old girl had died from a head injury in a house collapse in the Tumbes region, which borders Ecuador.

According to the Secretariat of Risk Management, Ecuador’s emergency response agency, the victim in the Andean community of Cuenca in the Andean region of Azuay was a passenger in a vehicle that was crushed by rubble from a house.

In El Oro, the agency also reported that several people were trapped under the rubble. In the community of Machala, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, a jetty sank and the wall of a building cracked, trapping several people.

The agency said firefighters worked to rescue people while the National Police assessed the damage, their job made more difficult as downed lines disrupted power service and phone.

Fabricio Cruz, a resident of Machala, said he was in his third-floor apartment when he felt a strong tremor and saw his television fall to the ground. He immediately went out.

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

Lasso said he will travel Saturday to El Oro.

In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 km) southwest of the capital Quito, authorities said there were cracks in buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three tunnels for vehicles in Guayaquil, which anchor a metro area with more than 3 million people.

Videos shared on social media showed people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and neighboring communities. People report falling objects in their homes.

A video posted online shows the three presenters dashing off their desks as the set shakes. At first, they tried to treat it as a minor earthquake but quickly ignored the camera. One host said the show would pause commercials, while another repeated, “My God, my God.”

A report from the Ecuadorian Adverse Events Monitoring Board ruled out a tsunami threat.

Peruvian authorities say the old walls of a military barracks have collapsed in Tumbes.

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


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


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