The capital of Ecuador is QUITO. At least 14 people were killed and many more were injured when a powerful earthquake struck southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, sending rescue teams out into streets littered with debris and downed power lines.
Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city, was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the epicenter of a 6.8 magnitude earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey. Authorities in Ecuador reported that at least 126 people were injured and that one person had died there.
The earthquake “without a doubt… generated alarm in the population,” President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador told reporters. The statement released by Lasso’s office indicated that eleven people had perished in the coastal state of El Oro and two had perished in the inland state of Azuay.
Everyone in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to its central Pacific coast, felt the quake. A 4-year-old girl was killed when her house collapsed in the Tumbes region of Peru, near the border with Ecuador, according to Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.
According to the Risk Manage
ment Secretariat, Ecuador’s emergency response agency, one of the victims in Azuay was a passenger in a vehicle that was crushed by rubble from a house in the Andean community of Cuenca.
The agency also stated that several people were feared to be buried alive in El Oro. A two-story house in the Machala neighborhood collapsed before its inhabitants could escape, and the same happened to a pier and another building, trapping an untold number of people inside.
According to the news outlet, firefighters were busy rescuing people while the National Police assessed the damage, both of which were hampered by the fact that downed lines had cut off telephone and electricity service.
Fabricio Cruz, a local of Machala, said that he was in his apartment on the third floor when he felt a jolt and saw his television fall to the floor. He left right away.
I heard how my neighbors were shouting and there was a lot of noise,” Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer, said. Looking around, he saw the roofs of nearby homes had collapsed, he said.
Schools and hospitals in Ecuador were also reportedly damaged. On Saturday, Lasso plans to head to El Oro.
Buildings and homes in Guayaquil, located about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Quito, have been reported to have cracks and some have even collapsed, according to authorities. Three tunnels under the streets of Guayaquil, the metropolis at the center of a region with over 3 million people, were closed by order of the authorities.
Social media videos document the large crowds that have congregated in the streets of Guayaquil and the surrounding areas. Several reports were made of people finding foreign objects inside their dwellings.
When the set began to shake, the three anchors of the show in the online video all jumped up from their desks. They played it off as a minor tremor at first, but eventually they ran away. One host announced a commercial break while another kept saying, “My God, my God.”
The Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate of Ecuador found that there was no tsunami risk.
Authorities in Peru reported that the walls of an abandoned Army barracks in Tumbes had collapsed.
Earthquakes are common in Ecuador. More than 600 people were killed in a 2016 earthquake that occurred further north on the Pacific Coast in a less densely populated area of the country.