A powerful earthquake killed at least 14 people on Saturday, injured many more and caused significant damage to southern Ecuador and neighboring Peru, according to an official report.
According to the USGS, the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.8. The Ecuadorian authorities, for their part, rate the volume at 6.5, and those of Peru at 6.7.
The Ecuadorean presidency said on Twitter that 13 people had been killed, including 11 in Oro province and one 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 falling stone, according to an official report.
The Ecuadorean presidency said the earthquake also caused “wounded” who were treated by hospitals.
The quake, which caused severe material damage, occurred at 12:12 p.m. (5:12 p.m. GMT) and had its epicenter in the town of Palau at a depth of 44 kilometers, according to the authorities.
The earthquake caused panic among the population, who took to the streets. Buildings collapsed in several towns, including Cuenca, which was among the hardest hit.
“I went to the street because I saw people running in panic and others getting out of cars,” Magali Escandon, a seamstress in the Andean city, told AFP.
Collapsing buildings, cracked walls, and vehicles wrecked. Agence France-Presse journalists reported the destruction of old homes in the historic center of Cuenca.
The quake was felt in Quito, Manabi and Manta, according to accounts on social media.
Ecuadorean President Guillermo Laso issued a “call for calm and information through official channels” in a message on Twitter.
According to the Ecuadorian Navy’s Institute of the Oceans and Antarctica, the tremor “does not meet the conditions to potentially trigger a tsunami” in the Pacific Ocean.
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