Massive Earthquake Hits Peru and Ecuador; Leaves Behind Casualties & Destruction

Peru: A strong earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least 15 people, trapping others under rubble, and sending rescue teams out into streets littered with debris and fallen power lines.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered just off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city. One of the victims died in Peru, while 13 others died in Ecuador, where authorities also reported that at least 126 people were injured.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters the earthquake had “without a doubt … generated alarm in the population.” Lasso’s office in a statement said 11 of the victims died in the coastal state of El Oro and two in the highlands state of Azuay.

Authorities say 14 people have died in Ecuador, while 126 others are reported to have been injured.

Residents inside the city of Guayaquil – which is Ecuador’s second largest city and sits around 170 miles (270km) southwest of the capital Quito – reported that objects had fallen inside their homes during the tremor.

The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.

Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, a quake centred farther north on the Pacific Coast in a more sparsely populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.

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