A magnitude 6.8 earthquake off the coast of Ecuador caused widespread damage and killed at least 12 people.
The earthquake that struck on Saturday afternoon affected southern Ecuador and northern Peru. People were trapped under rubble as rescue teams were dispatched to flooded streets from downed power lines.
The United States Geological Survey said the The epicenter of the earthquake was off the Pacific coast.about 50 miles south of Ecuador’s second largest city, Guayaquil.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso took to Twitter to urge people to remain calm. He said that he had ordered the country’s emergency management officials to “evaluate the effects produced by the earthquake”, which he said affected Balao, an area of Guayas state.
“I call for calm and for information through official channels,” Lasso said.
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Ecuador’s Secretariat for Risk Management, which acts as the country’s emergency response agency, confirmed that one victim was a passenger in a car struck by debris from a dilapidated house in the Andean community of Cuenca.
Three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro, after being trapped under rubble.
The agency said firefighters were actively working on the ground as police continued to assess the damage, but rescue efforts were hampered by downed power lines that knocked out electricity and phone service.
The authorities also decided to close three important vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which is home to more than three million people.
Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate announced that it had ruled out a tsunami threat.
Ecuador is used to dealing with earthquakes, tsunamis, and even volcanic eruptions, since it is located in a zone of high seismic activity. A 2016 earthquake in a coastal area further north caused more than 600 deaths.
with cable news services