QUITO, Ecuador — A powerful earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at the least a dozen folks, trapping others underneath rubble, and sending rescue groups out into streets plagued by particles and fallen energy strains.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered simply off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest metropolis.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso advised reporters the earthquake that killed 12 folks had “definitely … generated alarm within the inhabitants.” In a tweet, he additionally requested folks to stay calm.

Danger Administration Secretary Cristian Torres in a radio interview mentioned 11 of the victims died within the coastal state of El Oro and one within the highlands state of Azuay.

The sufferer in Azuay’s Andean neighborhood of Cuenca was a passenger in a car crushed by rubble from a home, based on the Danger Administration Secretariat, the South American nation’s emergency response company.

In El Oro, the company additionally reported that a number of folks have been trapped underneath rubble. In the neighborhood of Machala, a two-story dwelling collapsed earlier than folks might evacuate, a pier gave means and a constructing’s partitions cracked, trapping an unknown variety of folks.

The company mentioned firefighters labored to rescue folks whereas the Nationwide Police assessed harm, their work made tougher by downed strains that interrupted phone and electrical energy service.

Machala resident Fabricio Cruz mentioned he was in his third-floor house when he felt a robust tremor and noticed his tv hit the bottom. He instantly headed out.

“I heard how my neighbors have been shouting and there was a variety of noise,” mentioned Cruz, a 34-year-old photographer. He added that when he appeared round, he observed the collapsed roofs of close by homes.

Lasso mentioned he would journey on Saturday to El Oro.

In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and houses, in addition to some collapsed partitions. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchors a metro space of over 3 million folks.

Movies shared on social media present folks gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and close by communities. Folks reported objects falling inside their houses.

One video posted on-line confirmed three anchors of a present dart from their studio desk because the set shook. They initially tried to shake it off as a minor quake however quickly fled off digicam. One anchor indicated the present would go on a business break, whereas one other repeated, “My God, my God.”

A report from Ecuador’s Hostile Occasions Monitoring Directorate dominated out a tsunami menace.

The earthquake was additionally felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No deaths or accidents have been instantly reported. Within the northern area of Tumbes, the previous partitions of an Military barracks collapsed, authorities mentioned.

Ecuador is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. In 2016, a quake centered farther north on the Pacific Coast in a extra sparsely populated space of the nation killed greater than 600 folks.


Related Press writers Regina Garcia Cano in Caracas, Venezuela, and Franklin Briceño in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.

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