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Ecuador earthquake kills at least 12, causes wide damage


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QUITO, Ecuador — A powerful earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing a minimum of a dozen individuals, trapping others below rubble, and sending rescue groups out into streets plagued by particles and fallen energy strains.

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.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso informed reporters the earthquake that killed 12 individuals had “certainly … generated alarm within the inhabitants.” In a tweet, he additionally requested individuals to stay calm.

Threat Administration Secretary Cristian Torres in a radio interview mentioned 11 of the victims died within the coastal state of El Oro and one within the highlands state of Azuay.

The sufferer in Azuay’s Andean neighborhood of Cuenca was a passenger in a automobile crushed by rubble from a home, in keeping with the Threat Administration Secretariat, the South American nation’s emergency response company.

In El Oro, the company additionally reported that a number of individuals have been trapped below rubble. Locally of Machala, a two-story house collapsed earlier than individuals may evacuate, a pier gave means 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 harm, their work made harder by downed strains that interrupted phone and electrical energy service.

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

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

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 houses.

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 industrial break, whereas one other repeated, “My God, my God.”

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

The earthquake was additionally felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No deaths or accidents have been instantly reported. Within the northern area of Tumbes, the outdated partitions of an Military barracks collapsed, authorities mentioned.

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.

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

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