6.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador, 14 dead, 380 injured
Quito: At least 14 people were killed in a strong earthquake that rattled the coast of Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, causing structural damage to many homes, schools and medical centers.
The earthquake, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured at a magnitude of 6.8, occurred about 10 km (6.2 mi) from the town of Balao in Guayas province at a depth of 66.4 km (41.3 mi).
Officials said the earthquake is not likely to generate a tsunami.
“We remain in the area verifying the damage caused by the earthquake this morning. I want to confirm that I am with you and express our solidarity and commitment to the victims.
The presidency’s communications agency said 14 people died in the earthquake, and more than 380 were injured, mostly in El Oro province.
The agency said at least 44 homes were destroyed, while 90 more were damaged. About 50 educational buildings and more than 30 health centers were also affected, while several roadways were blocked by landslides triggered by the quake. Santa Rosa Airport received minor damage, but remained operational.
Ecuador’s risk management secretariat said in an earlier statement that one death in Azuay province was caused by a wall collapsing on a vehicle. In other provinces, structural damage included a collapsed pier and a collapsed wall at a supermarket.
The agency said state-run oil company Petroecuador evacuated several facilities and suspended activities as a precaution, but had not reported damage.
“We all ran into the streets … we were very scared,” Ernesto Alvarado, a resident of Isla Puna near the epicenter, told Reuters, adding that some houses had collapsed.
According to Ecuador’s Institute of Geophysics, the initial quake was followed by two weaker aftershocks in the next hour.
Peruvian officials said the quake was felt in the country’s northern region, but there were no immediate reports of damage to people or structures. reuters