At least 14 dead, widespread damage in Ecuador, Peru earthquakes


A powerful earthquake hit southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least 14 people and sending rescuers into streets bummed under rubble and littered with debris and downed power lines.

The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered just off the Pacific coast about 50 miles south of Ecuador’s second largest city, Guayaquil. One of the victims died in Peru, 13 died in Ecuador, and authorities have reported at least 126 injured.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters that the earthquake “undoubtedly… set the public on alert”. In a statement, Lasso’s office said 11 of the victims died in the coastal state of El Oro and two in the highland state of Azuai.

Damage caused by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in the town of Barao, Azuay, Ecuador, on March 18, 2023.

Dario Ordonez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In Peru, the quake was felt from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otarola said his four-year-old girl died after suffering a head injury after his home collapsed in the Tumbes region on the border with Ecuador.

According to the Risk Management Secretariat, Ecuador’s emergency response agency, one of the victims of Azuay was a passenger in a car that was crushed by debris from a home in the Andean community of Cuenca.

In El Oro, authorities reported several people trapped under rubble. In Machala’s community, his two-story house collapsed before people were evacuated, the pier collapsed, and the walls of the building cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.

Firefighters were working to rescue people while national police assessed the damage, the agency said, but their work was made more difficult by downed lines that disrupted telephone and electricity services. became.

Fabricio Cruz, a Machala resident, said he felt a strong tremor and saw a TV slam into the ground when he was on the third floor of his apartment. he left at once.

“I could hear my neighbors making a lot of noise,” said Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer. Looking around, he added that he noticed that the roofs of nearby houses were collapsing.

The Ecuadorian government also reported damage to medical centers and schools. Lasso said he will be traveling to El Oro on Saturday.

In Guayaquil, about 270 miles southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes and some walls collapsed. Authorities have ordered the closure of his three vehicle tunnels in Guayaquil, which support a metropolitan area of ​​more than three million people.

Videos shared on social media show people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and in nearby communities. People reported falling objects into their homes.

One video posted online showed the three Show Darts anchors from their studio desks as the set rocked. They initially tried to shake it off as a minor earthquake, but quickly fled the cameras. God” repeated.

A report from Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Agency ruled out a tsunami threat.

Peruvian officials said an old wall of an army barracks had collapsed in Tumbes.

Ecuador is a particularly earthquake-prone country. In 2016, more than 600 people were killed in an earthquake centered in a sparsely populated area further north on the Pacific coast.

2019, very strong Magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits southern Ecuadornear the border with Peru.

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