Powerful earthquake in Ecuador/ At least 12 victims, cities


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

Buildings have been damaged in several cities after the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador in the afternoon the day before.

The southern province of El Oro was the worst affected, with emergency services reporting that people remain trapped inside collapsed houses.

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

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Machala and Cuenca were among the cities 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, home to about three million people.

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

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

“Emergency teams are mobilizing to provide all their support to those affected,” he said.

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

Several roads have been blocked by landslides, while some houses, 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 collapsed on Jambeli Island.

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There were reports of the quake being felt in several other cities, including Manabi, Manta and the capital Quito.

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

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

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