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Ecuador earthquake kills at least four, causes widespread damage

An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale shakes the coastal region of Guayas, damaging homes and buildings.

A strong earthquake rocked the region around Ecuador’s second-largest city, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings and sending panicked residents into the streets.

The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the country’s coastal Guayas region on Saturday. It was centered about 80 km (50 mi) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metropolitan area of ​​more than 3 million people.

President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message urging residents to remain calm.

The South American country’s emergency relief agency, the Risk Management Secretariat, reported that one person has died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car trapped under the rubble of a house. Three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro, the agency said.

In Guayaquil, about 270 km southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in houses and other buildings, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities have ordered the closure of three road tunnels.

Videos shared on social media show people gathering in the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People reported objects falling into their homes.

A video posted online showed three television show hosts firing from their desks in the studio as the set shook.

They initially tried to shrug it off as a small earthquake, but soon fled from the camera. One presenter indicated that the show would have a commercial break, while another repeated, ‘My God. My God.”

A pier has sunk in the city of Machala. The earthquake was also felt in northern Peru.