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Strong earthquake kills at least 14 in Ecuador, 1 in Peru

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) – A powerful earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at the very least 15 individuals, trapping others below rubble, and sending rescue groups out into streets suffering from particles and fallen energy traces.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered simply off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest metropolis. One of many victims died in Peru, whereas 14 others died in Ecuador, the place authorities additionally reported that at the very least 126 individuals had been injured.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso advised reporters the earthquake had “definitely … generated alarm within the inhabitants.” Lasso’s workplace in a press release mentioned 12 of the victims died within the coastal state of El Oro and two within the highlands state of Azuay.

In Peru, the earthquake was felt from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otarola mentioned a 4-year-old lady died from head trauma she suffered within the collapse of her house within the Tumbes area, on the border with Ecuador.

One of many victims in Azuay was a passenger in a automobile crushed by rubble from a home within the Andean neighborhood of Cuenca, in keeping with the Threat Administration Secretariat, Ecuador’s emergency response company.

In El Oro, the company additionally reported that a number of individuals had been trapped below rubble. Locally of Machala, a two-story house collapsed earlier than individuals might evacuate, a pier gave method and a constructing’s partitions cracked, trapping an unknown variety of individuals.

The company mentioned firefighters labored to rescue individuals whereas the Nationwide Police assessed injury, their work made harder by downed traces that interrupted phone and electrical energy service.

Machala resident Fabricio Cruz mentioned he was in his third-floor condo when he felt a powerful tremor and noticed his tv hit the bottom. He instantly headed out.

“I heard how my neighbors had been shouting and there was a number of noise,” mentioned Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer. He added that when he regarded round, he seen the collapsed roofs of close by homes.

Ecuador’s authorities additionally reported damages to well being care facilities and faculties. Lasso mentioned he would journey on Saturday to El Oro.

In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and houses, in addition to some collapsed partitions. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchors a metro space of over 3 million individuals.

Movies shared on social media present individuals gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and close by communities. Folks reported objects falling inside their properties.

One video posted on-line confirmed three anchors of a present dart from their studio desk because the set shook. They initially tried to shake it off as a minor quake however quickly fled off digicam. One anchor indicated the present would go on a business break, whereas one other repeated, “My God, my God.”

Luis Tomala was fishing with others when the earthquake struck. He mentioned their boat started shifting “like a racehorse, we received scared, and once we turned on the radio, we heard in regards to the earthquake.” That is when his group, Tomala mentioned, determined to remain at sea fearing a tsunami might develop.

A report from Ecuador’s Opposed Occasions Monitoring Directorate dominated out a tsunami risk.

Peruvian authorities mentioned the previous partitions of an Military barracks collapsed in Tumbes.

Ecuador is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. In 2016, a quake centered farther north on the Pacific Coast in a extra sparsely populated space of the nation killed greater than 600 individuals.

Machala scholar Katherine Cruz mentioned her house shook so badly that she couldn’t even rise up to depart her room and flee to the road.

“It was horrible. I had by no means felt something like this in my life,” she mentioned.

Related Press writers Regina Garcia Cano in Caracas, Venezuela, and Franklin Briceno in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.

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