Earthquake in southern Ecuador kills at least 12


At least 12 people have died after a powerful earthquake hit the southern coast of Ecuador.

Buildings have been damaged in several cities after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake, which struck around noon local time (17:00 GMT).

The southern province of El Oro was worst hit, where emergency services have reported that people remain trapped inside collapsed houses.

11 deaths were in El Oro and one in Azuay province, authorities said.

Machala and Cuenca were among the towns that suffered damage to buildings and vehicles as emergency services rushed to help people.

The epicenter was near Balao, about 80 km from Ecuador’s second largest city, Guayaquil, where about three million people live.

“I went out into the street because I saw people start running in panic and getting out of their cars,” Magaly Escandon, a business owner in Cuenca, told the AFP news agency.

President Guillermo Lasso asked Ecuadorians to remain calm while officials assess the damage.

“Emergency teams are mobilizing to offer all their support to those who have been affected,” he said.

Lasso’s office also confirmed that injured people were being treated at the hospital, but did not provide further details.

Several roads have been blocked by landslides, while several homes, educational buildings and health centers have been damaged, authorities said.

One person was reported killed in the city of Cuenca after a wall collapsed on their car, while three people died when a security camera tower fell on Jambelí Island.

There have also been reports that the earthquake can be felt in several other cities, including Manabi, Manta and the capital Quito.

This is the strongest earthquake to hit Ecuador since 2016, when nearly 700 people died and thousands were injured.

Officials in Peru say the earthquake was felt in northern areas of the country, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.


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