GUAYAQUIL: At least 12 people were killed, one was wounded and buildings were damaged in a powerful earthquake that shook Peru and Ecuador earlier Saturday, Ecuador’s presidency said.
Destroyed buildings, crushed vehicles and debris could be seen in cities such as Machala in Ecuador, as rescue officials rushed to lend aid and tearful residents gathered in the streets.
The quake, which the United States Geological Survey (USGS) put at a magnitude 6.8 and a depth of nearly 41 miles (66 kilometers), struck at 12:12 local time (1712 GMT).
Its epicenter was 52 miles (85 kilometers) northeast of the Peruvian city of Zarumilla, near the border with Ecuador, the National Seismological Center of Peru reported.
“So far, 12 deaths are reported (11 in the province of El Oro and one in the province of Azuay),” Ecuador’s presidency said in a tweet.
Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso urged people to remain “calm and to be informed through official channels” about damage to buildings in a message on Twitter.
According to Quito’s Risk Management Office, the facade of a house collapsed on a vehicle and left “a deceased person” in the city of Cuenca in the south.
Nearby, in the province of El Oro, three people were reported dead when a tower toppled and fatally crushed them. It was not immediately clear where the other deaths took place.
The tremor was strongly felt in cities such as Guayaquil, Quito, Manabi and Manta, social media reports said.