By GONZALO SOLANO
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A powerful earthquake struck southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least four people, trapping others under rubble and sending rescue teams into streets littered with rubble and power lines. fallen.
The US Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered off the Pacific coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, the second largest city. from Ecuador.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to remain calm.
One victim was a passenger in a vehicle crushed by debris from a house in the Andean community of Cuenca, according to the Risk Management Secretariat, the South American country’s emergency response agency.
In the coastal state of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under rubble, the agency reported. In the Machala community, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way, and the walls of a building cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters worked to rescue people while the National Police assessed the damage, their work hampered by downed lines that disrupted power and telephone service.
In Guayaquil, about 270 kilometers (170 miles) southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchors a metropolitan area of more than 3 million people.
Videos shared on social media show people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People reported objects falling inside their houses.
A video posted online showed three hosts of a show. dart from his study desk while the set shook. They initially tried to shake it off as a minor earthquake, but soon fled the chamber. One host indicated that the show would have a commercial break, while another repeated, “My God, my God.”
A report from Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate ruled out a tsunami threat.
The quake was also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks have collapsed, authorities said.
Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake was centered further north on the Pacific coast in a less populated area of the country. killed more than 600 people.
Associated Press writers Regina García Cano in Caracas, Venezuela, and Franklin Briceño in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.