ECUADOR: At least 14 people were killed when a strong earthquake hit a coastal area of Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday. Many homes, schools, and healthcare facilities were also damaged. The earthquake, which was measured by the USGS as having a magnitude of 6.8, occurred at a depth of 66.4 kilometres (41.3 miles), and about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the city of Balao in the region of Guayas.
The quake didn’t appear likely to cause a tsunami, officials said.
“We remain in the territory verifying the damage caused by the earthquake this morning. I want to confirm that I am with you and express my solidarity and commitment to the victims,” Guillermo Lasso, the president of Ecuador, tweeted.
The communication agency for the president said that 14 people died and more than 380 were hurt, most of them in the province of El Oro.
The agency stated at least 44 houses were destroyed and another 90 were damaged.
About 50 schools and more than 30 hospitals were also affected, and the tremor caused landslides that blocked a number of roads. The Santa Rosa airport sustained only minimal damage and continued to operate.
In a previous statement, Ecuador’s Secretariat of Risk Management said that one person died in the province of Azuay when a wall fell on a car. In other parts of the country, buildings like a supermarket wall and a wharf were destroyed.
The agency said that the government-run oil company Petroecuador had evacuated and stopped working at several facilities out of safety concerns, but had not yet reported any damage.
“We all ran out into the streets… we were very scared,” said Ernesto Alvarado, a local of Isla Puna close to the epicenter of the quake. He also added that some houses had collapsed.
The Geophysics Institute of Ecuador says that within an hour of the first quake, there were two smaller aftershocks. Peruvian officials said the earthquake was felt in the nation’s northern region, but there were no instant reports of injuries to people or damage to buildings.