Earthquake in Ecuador: at least 14 dead and 380 injured by a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8
The strong tremor had its epicenter in the municipality of Balao, near the border of Ecuador and Peru.
An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 occurred this Saturday in Ecuador, leaving at least 14 people dead and 381 injured, authorities in the South American country reported.
The earthquake was registered at 12:12 local time (17:12 GMT) and had its epicenter in the municipality of Balao, near the border with Peru , at a depth of 66 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The cities of Machala and Cuenca were among the hardest hit, with homes destroyed and vehicles crushed in the streets.
“The earthquake was felt in almost all the provinces of the country, but there were a greater number of reports coming from the provinces of Guayas, Pichincha, Azuay and El Oro, especially from the cities of Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca,” reported the Geophysical Institute of Ecuador.
In its most recent report, the Ecuadorian Presidency reported that 14 people had died, while 381 were injured . In total, 44 homes had been destroyed and some 90 with some degree of damage.
Most of the victims were residents of the provinces of El Oro and Azuzay.
Also close to 50 educational units and more than 30 health centers were affected.
President Guillermo Lasso led the installation of an emergency committee.
“We are carrying out the evaluation of the effects caused by the earthquake. The institutions were activated immediately and contingency teams are mobilizing to offer all their support to those who have been affected,” Lasso said on Twitter.
“It is a relatively high magnitude for what we have in the country,” said Mario Ruiz, director of the Geophysical Institute of Ecuador, in an interview with FM Mundo radio.
Emergency agencies were deployed in different affected areas to rescue people and assess the damage.
“We ran out into the streets, this situation was very ugly. We were very scared , we are close to the epicenter, the scare was great,” Ernesto Alvarado, a resident of the Ecuadorian island of Puná, told Reuters.
Three facilities of the state-owned Petroecuador (Terminal Pascuales, LNG plant and Terminal 3 Bocas) preventively suspended their activities and were evacuated.
The authorities said that the movement did not have the necessary conditions to generate a tsunami on the continental and insular coasts.
From Peru, the earthquake was felt strongly in the north of the country, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
Images of the damages
The local press, news agencies and users of social networks shared images of the effects registered in the affected areas.
In Machala, in addition to destroyed homes, the earthquake caused the collapse of a museum in the old Puerto Bolívar.
The building was located on the water. After the strong earthquake, it was partially submerged in the bay.
After a damage assessment visit, President Lasso said that this city had “the greatest impact” by the earthquake.
“I have shaken hands, I have wanted to express my solidarity with the families of the deceased, and solidarity with those affected by the earthquake,” the president said on Twitter.
In the historic center of Cuenca, the fragmentation of a cornice in an old building caused the destruction of a vehicle that was a few meters away.
In the city of Guayaquil, the most populous city in Ecuador and located more than 120 km from the epicenter, the earthquake could be felt moderately.
There the products of a supermarket were left on the floor due to the movement of the shelves.