19 Mar 2023

Strong Earthquake Jolts Ecuador, 14 killed, nearly 400 injured


Quito: At least 14 people were killed and nearly 400 were injured after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck western Ecuador. 

Destroyed buildings, crushed vehicles and debris could be seen in cities such as Machala and Cuenca in Ecuador. Rescue officials have rushed to provide assistance. Panicked residents ran into the streets.

The quake struck at 12:12 local time (17:12 GMT). Its epicenter was in the Ecuadoran municipality of Balao, near the border with Peru,

"14 dead, 381 injured," the presidential press service tweeted on Saturday. Earlier, Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso said the death toll from the earthquake stood at 12, with 11 in El Oro province and one in Azuay province.

Tremor also strongly felt in other cities 

The tremor was also strongly felt in other cities including Guayaquil, Quito, Manabi and Manta, social media reports said.

Ecuador is located in the western corner at the top of the South American continent. It is bordered by Peru and Colombo.

4-year-old girl dies in Peru

One death has been reported from neighbouring Peru. In the Peruvian city of Tumbes on the border with Ecuador, a four-year-old girl died after a brick hit her on the head, according to an official report.

Ecuador's presidency reported that "there are injured people who are being treated promptly in hospitals," but did not provide any figures.

Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso traveled to El Oro, where he visited the wounded in a hospital, and will next head to Azuay.

"I have just finished visiting the city of Machala... I have ratified government support, the availability of resources," he said in a video posted on Twitter.

Earlier in the day he urged people to remain "calm and to be informed through official channels" about damage to buildings.

According to Quito's Risk Management Office, the facade of a house collapsed on a vehicle and left "a deceased person" in Cuenca. Old houses in the historic center had been damaged.

Roads near Cuenca were additionally blocked by landsides. Nearby, in the province of El Oro, three people were reported dead when a tower toppled and fatally crushed them.

The earthquake shook the north and central coasts of Peru with less intensity. In Tumbes, it damaged 12 homes, according to an official report.

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