Ecuador earthquake kills at least four, causes widespread damage | earthquake news
6.7 magnitude tremors shake the coastal region of Guayas, damaging houses and buildings.
A strong earthquake has shaken the region around Ecuador’s second largest city, killing at least four people, damaging houses and buildings and driving panicked residents into the streets.
The US Geological Survey reported a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the country’s coastal Guayas region on Saturday. It was located about 80 km (50 miles) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metropolitan area of more than 3 million people.
President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message urging residents to remain calm.
The South American country’s emergency agency, the Risk Management Secretariat, reported the death of one person in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car that was trapped under the rubble of a house.
In the coastal state of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under debris, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and the walls of a building caved in, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters were working to save people while the National Police surveyed the damage. Their work was complicated by downed wires that disrupted phone and electricity service.
In Guayaquil, about 270 km (170 miles) southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in houses and other buildings and some collapsed walls. The authorities ordered the closure of three road tunnels.
Videos shared on social media show people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and in surrounding communities. People reported objects falling into their homes.
A video posted online showed three TV show hosts showing off darts from their studio table while the set shook.
They initially tried to shake it off as a slight tremor, but soon fled the camera. One host indicated that the show would be going on a commercial break, while another reiterated: “My god. My God.”
A report by Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate ruled out a tsunami threat.
The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from the northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No dead or injured were immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.
Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake concentrated farther north on the Pacific coast in a sparsely populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.