Earthquake leaves more than a dozen dead and others trapped in South America
At least 13 people died on Saturday in the South American countries of Ecuador and Peru after the quake, leaving others trapped under rubble.
The US Geological Survey measured the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.8, reporting that it struck at a depth of just over 41 miles and about 6 miles from the provincial town of Balao. southern Guayas in Ecuador, Reuters reported. Authorities said they did not expect a tsunami to follow.
“Ecuadorian families are not alone. The national government is always here to offer you all its support,” Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso wrote on Twitter.
“The government has been urgently activated and the necessary care is being provided to those affected by this earthquake,” tweeted the official account of the Ecuadorian presidential spokesperson.
The Associated Press reported that 12 deaths have been confirmed in Ecuador and 1 death has been reported in neighboring Peru. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola said the victim in his country was a 4-year-old girl, who died after her house collapsed near the Ecuadorian border, according to the news agency.
Fabricio Cruz, a resident of Machala in Ecuador, spoke to The Associated Press about his experience when the earthquake struck. “I heard how my neighbors were screaming and there was a lot of noise,” he said.
Cruz was in his apartment on the third floor when the disaster occurred. He said his television fell to the ground and he immediately walked outside, where he saw that the roofs of nearby houses had collapsed.
“We all ran into the streets…we were very scared,” Ernesto Alvarado, a resident of Isla Puna, told Reuters. He said some houses had collapsed in his area.
“I went out into the street because I saw people start running in panic, getting out of their cars,” Magaly Escandon, from Cuenca, told AFP.
The BBC reported that some roads had been blocked following landslides caused by the earthquake. Homes, health care centers and school buildings were also damaged, authorities confirmed, according to the British broadcaster.
Newsweek contacted the US State Department and the Ecuadorian government via email for comment.