Strong earthquake leaves at least 14 dead in Ecuador and 1 in Peru – KESQ

Associated Press

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A strong earthquake struck southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least 15 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. One of the victims died in Peru, while 14 others died in Ecuador, where authorities also reported that at least 126 people were injured.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters that the earthquake “without a doubt… generated alarm among the population.” Lasso’s office said in a statement that 12 of the victims died in the coastal state of El Oro and two in the mountainous state of Azuay.

In Peru, the quake was felt from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola said a 4-year-old girl died from a head injury she suffered in the collapse of her house in the Tumbes region, on the border with Ecuador.

One of the victims in Azuay was a passenger in a vehicle crushed by the rubble of a house in the Andean community of Cuenca, according to the Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos, Ecuador’s emergency response agency.

In El Oro, the agency also reported that several people were trapped under the rubble. 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.

Machala resident Fabricio Cruz said he was in his third-floor apartment when he felt a strong tremor and saw his TV fall to the ground. He immediately left.

“I heard how my neighbors were shouting and there was a lot of noise,” said Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer. He added that when he looked around, he noticed the collapsed roofs of nearby houses.

The Ecuadorian government also reported damage to health centers and schools. Lasso said that he would travel to El Oro on Saturday.

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.”

Luis Tomalá was fishing with others when the earthquake struck. He said his boat began to move “like a racehorse, we got scared and when we turned on the radio, we heard about the earthquake.” That’s when his group, Tomalá said, decided to stay at sea for fear of a tsunami developing.

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

Peruvian authorities said the old walls of an army barracks had collapsed in Tumbes.

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.

Katherine Cruz, a student from Machala, said her house was shaken so much that she couldn’t even get up to leave her room and run into the street.

“It was horrible. I had never felt anything like this in my life,” he said. ___

Associated Press writers Regina García Cano in Caracas, Venezuela, and Franklin Briceño in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *