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At least 14 dead in powerful earthquake in Ecuador and Peru

CUENCA, Ecuador: At least 14 people were killed, several injured and buildings damaged in a powerful earthquake that shook Peru and Ecuador on Saturday, authorities said.

Destroyed buildings, smashed vehicles and debris were seen in cities like Machala and Cuenca in Ecuador as rescue workers rushed to render assistance and panicked residents ran into the streets.

The quake, which the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported as having a magnitude of 6.8 and a depth of nearly 41 miles (66 kilometers), occurred at 12:12 p.m. local time (1712 GMT).

Its epicenter was in the Ecuadorian municipality of Balao, near the border with Peru, authorities said.

“I took to the streets because I saw people getting out of their cars in a panic,” Magaly Escandon, a sewing supplies saleswoman in Cuenca, told AFP.

Ecuador’s presidency reported 13 dead – 11 in El Oro province and two in Azuay province.

In the Peruvian town of Tumbes on the border with Ecuador, a four-year-old girl died after being hit in the head by a brick, according to an official report.

“I was playing with my … niece where the pool of blood is and a brick fell on her,” her uncle David Alvarado told AFP.

The tremors were also strongly felt in other cities including Guayaquil, Quito, Manabi and Manta, social media reports said.

The Ecuadorian Presidency reported that “there are injured people who are being treated immediately in hospitals,” but gave no figures.

– Stay calm’ –

President Guillermo Lasso traveled to El Oro, where he visited the wounded in a hospital, and will next travel to Azuay.

“I have just finished visiting the city of Machala… I have ratified government support and resource availability,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.

Earlier in the day, he urged people to “keep calm and find out about damage to buildings through official channels”.

According to Quito’s Risk Management Office, the facade of a house collapsed on a vehicle, leaving “one deceased person” in Cuenca. AFP journalists in the city also reported that old houses in the old town had been damaged.

Roads near Cuenca were additionally blocked by land edges.

Nearby, in El Oro province, three people were reported dead when a tower fell, fatally crushing them.

The earthquake shook the northern and central coasts of Peru with lesser intensity. According to an official report, 12 houses were damaged in Tumbes.

“That’s a relatively high order of magnitude for what we have in the country,” said Mario Ruiz, director of the Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute, in an interview with FM Mundo Radio.

Peru’s seismological authorities initially reported a magnitude of 7.0 but downgraded the magnitude to 6.7 hours later.

A magnitude 4.8 aftershock was recorded in Balao, Ecuador. The Ecuadorian Navy said there was no tsunami risk.

In 2016, a magnitude 7.8 quake struck Ecuador’s western provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas, killing 673 people and causing an estimated $3 billion in damage.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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