Magnitude 6.7 tremor shakes coastal Guayas region, damaging homes and buildings.
Published On 18 Mar 2023
A strong earthquake has shaken the region around Ecuador’s second-largest city, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings, and sending panicked residents into the streets.
The US Geological Survey reported an earthquake on Saturday with a magnitude of 6.7 in the country’s coastal Guayas region. It was centred about 80km (50 miles) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metro area of more than 3 million people.
President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to remain calm.
The South American country’s emergency response agency, the Risk Management Secretariat, reported one person died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car trapped under the rubble of a house. Three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro, the agency said.
In Guayaquil, about 270km (170 miles) southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in houses and other buildings as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three road tunnels.
Videos shared on social media show people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People reported objects falling inside their homes.
One video posted online showed three presenters of a television show dart from their studio desk as the set shook.
They initially tried to shake it off as a minor quake but soon fled off camera. One presenter indicated the show would go on a commercial break while another repeated, “My God. My God.”
A pier sank in the city of Machala. The earthquake was also felt in northern Peru.