Ecuador earthquake kills at least 12 people, causes widespread damage
Quito: A strong earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least a dozen people, trapping others under rubble, and sending rescue teams out into streets littered with debris and fallen power lines.
The US Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centred just off the Pacific Coast, about 80 kilometres south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso in a televised address to the nation said the earthquake killed 12 people.
One victim was a passenger in a vehicle crushed by rubble from a house in the Andean community of Cuenca, said the Risk Management Secretariat, the South American country’s emergency response agency.
In the coastal state of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under rubble, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-storey home collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and a building’s walls cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters worked to rescue people while the National Police assessed damage, their work made more difficult by downed lines that interrupted telephone and electricity service.
In Guayaquil, about 270 kilometres southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchors a metro area of more than 3 million people.
Videos shared on social media show people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People reported objects falling inside their homes.