At least 15 dead in earthquake in Ecuador
BA severe earthquake killed at least 15 people in southern Ecuador. At least eleven of the dead from collapsing apartments or buildings came from the province of El Oro on the Pacific coast, two from Azuay in the Andean highlands, as the Ecuadorian newspaper “El Comercio” reported on Saturday. Another 381 people were injured, according to the Ecuadorian government. More than 100 buildings, including health centers, were damaged and some destroyed.
According to USGS, the magnitude 6.8 quake occurred at 12:12 p.m. (local time, 6:12 p.m. CET) at a depth of about 66 kilometers. According to the authorities in Ecuador, the epicenter was under Balao, around 140 kilometers south of the port city of Guayaquil. The tremors were also felt in other cities such as Quito, Manabí and Manta, as reported by users in online networks.
President calls on people to calm down
Several buildings were damaged in the city of Cuenca. One person died there when a collapsed wall crashed into his car. Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso called on the population on Twitter to keep calm and get information through the official channels.
Saleswoman Magaly Escandon from Balao told AFP news agency that she ran into the street when she saw “people in panic started running, got out of their cars”. The earthquake also shook northern Peru. In the border town of Tumbes, a four-year-old girl was killed when a falling brick hit her in the head. There is no evidence of major property damage in the country, said the head of the Geophysical Institute of PeruHernando Tavera.
Ecuador and Peru lie on what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, which stretches along the west coast of the American continent. There, several tectonic plates collide and often detach earthquake out of.
Several aftershocks with a magnitude of up to 4.8 were recorded following the severe tremor. Ecuador’s Navy said there was no threat of a tsunami.