Sun, 01 Oct 2023

Fatal earthquake hits South America
19 Mar 2023, 06:09 GMT+10

The magnitude 6.7 quake killed at least 15 people and caused widespread damage

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Ecuador and Peru on Saturday, damaging roads, leveling buildings, and killing at least 15 people while over 126 suffered injuries, according to initial estimates.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso's office confirmed 14 deaths, after the quake struck the coastal Guyas region at around noon. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter was located roughly 80km (50 miles) south of Guayaquil, the Ecuador's second-largest city.

In the coastal state of El Oro, multiple people were killed when a structure collapsed on the island of Jambeli, immediately to the south of the epicenter. Another person was reportedly killed while traveling in a vehicle that became trapped under the rubble of a collapsing house in the town of Cuenca, located inland to the east of the epicenter. 

Across the borded in Peru, a 4-year-old girl was killed in the collapse of her home in the border region of Tumbes, according to Prime Minister Alberto Otarola.

Elsewhere, destruction of houses, commercial buildings, power and energy infrastructure, and roads was reported by Ecuador's Risk Management Secretariat. 

Video footage from affected areas showed some of the damage, with clips from Cuenca appearing to capture the immediate aftermath of the fatality there.

Ecuador sits along the junction of the Nazca and South American Plates, and suffers regular earthquakes. The most powerful one in recent years was in 2016, which registered a magnitude of 7.8 and hit the country's northwestern coast, near the town of Muisne. It killed at least 675 people and injured more than 16,000, while causing around $3 billion worth of damage.

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