At least four lifeless, widespread damage in Ecuador earthquake
A 6.7-magnitude earthquake jolted coastal Goya, damaging homes and buildings. A strong earthquake has rocked the area around Ecuador’s second-largest city, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings, and sending terrified residents into the streets. The U.S. News Pandalogical Survey reported a 6.7-magnitude earthquake in the country’s coastal Guayas region on Saturday. It was centered about 80 kilometers (50 mi) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metro area of more than 3 million people. President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to remain calm. The South American country’s emergency response agency, the Risk Management Secretariat, reported that one person had died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car trapped under the debris of the house. In the coastal state of El Oro, three people were killed and several were buried under debris, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-storey house collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and the walls of the building cracked, trapping an unknown number of people. Firefighters worked to rescue people while national police assessed the damage, their work made more difficult by downed power lines that disrupted telephone and power service, the agency said. In Guayaquil, about 270 kilometers (170 miles) southwest of the capital Quito, officials reported cracks in houses and other buildings, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three road tunnels. Residents look at a collapsed building after an earthquake in Macala, Ecuador [Jhonny Crespo/AP Photo]
Videos shared on social media showed people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and surrounding communities. People reported objects falling inside their homes. A video posted online showed the three presenters of the television show darting from their studio desks when the set shook. Initially they tried to shake it off as a minor earthquake but soon ran away from the camera. One presenter indicated that the show would go to commercial break while another repeated, “My God. My God.” A report by Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate dismissed the threat of a tsunami. Tremors were also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No casualties or injuries were immediately reported. In the northern region of Timbs, old walls of an army barracks collapsed, officials said. Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake in the far north on the Pacific coast in a sparsely populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.