At Least 15 Killed and Hundreds Injured as 6.8-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Ecuador and Peru
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador and Peru on Saturday killed at least 15 people and injured more than a hundred others.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake struck eight kilometers north-northwest of Baláo, located in the Guayas Province of Ecuador.
NBC News reported that the earthquake was centered about 50 miles south of Guayaquil — which is about 170 miles southwest of Ecuador's capital, Quito, and has a population of more than 3 million in the metropolitan area.
The earthquake killed 14 in Ecuador and one in Peru, where it hit the northern border of the country, and injured at least 126 people, authorities reported, according to NBC News.
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Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters the earthquake "without a doubt ... generated alarm in the population," per NBC News. The outlet also reported that Lasso's office said in a statement that 12 of the victims died in the coastal El Oro Province and two in the highlands state of Azuay.
According to NBC News, Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola said a 4-year-old girl died from head trauma sustained from the collapse of her home in Tumbes in the costal northwestern region of Peru bordering Ecuador.
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Solange Coyago, a visitor who felt the earthquake while inside an apartment in Cuenca, Ecuador, told NBC News, "I was really scared. Everyone outside was in the streets ... [it] was a really tough moment."
"Everything in my mind was blind. I started shaking," she continued, revealing she had a panic attack when the earthquake struck.
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NBC News also stated that authorities reported collapsed walls and cracks on buildings and homes in Guayaquil, ordering three tunnels of traffic to close. A pier also reportedly sank in the city of Machala southwest of Ecuador.
Coyago told NBC News that the apartment she was in did not suffer a lot of damage, but that some nearby partially collapsed.
"The police officers are saying please don't walk around here because in every moment this is going to come down," Coyago said. "Right now, the streets are closed, some of them."