At Least 15 Killed and Hundreds Injured as 6.8-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Ecuador and Peru

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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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Mandatory Credit: Photo by ROBERT PUGLLA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13833760b) Emergency personnel respond to damage after an earthquake, in Cuenca, Ecuador, 18 March 2023. 14 people in Ecuador and one person in Peru died after the earthquake with a 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale struck southeast Ecuador on 18 March. 15 dead after 6.5 magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador and Peru, Cuenca - 18 Mar 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by ROBERT PUGLLA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13833760b) Emergency personnel respond to damage after an earthquake, in Cuenca, Ecuador, 18 March 2023. 14 people in Ecuador and one person in Peru died after the earthquake with a 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale struck southeast Ecuador on 18 March. 15 dead after 6.5 magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador and Peru, Cuenca - 18 Mar 2023

ROBERT PUGLLA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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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.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Cesar Munoz/AP/Shutterstock (13833512k) Residents recover belongings from the debris of their collapsed homes after an earthquake shook Machala, Ecuador, . The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered just off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil Earthquake, Machala, Ecuador - 18 Mar 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Cesar Munoz/AP/Shutterstock (13833512k) Residents recover belongings from the debris of their collapsed homes after an earthquake shook Machala, Ecuador, . The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered just off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil Earthquake, Machala, Ecuador - 18 Mar 2023

Cesar Munoz/AP/Shutterstock

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.

MACHALA, ECUADOR - MARCH 18: Rescuers work on a collapsed house after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit close to 12:12 pm on March 18, 2023 in Machala, Ecuador. The epicenter was located 6 kilometer north northeast of Balao, in the El Oro province. So far authorities confirmed 13 dead. (Photo by Jorge Sanchez/Agencia Press South/Getty Images)
MACHALA, ECUADOR - MARCH 18: Rescuers work on a collapsed house after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit close to 12:12 pm on March 18, 2023 in Machala, Ecuador. The epicenter was located 6 kilometer north northeast of Balao, in the El Oro province. So far authorities confirmed 13 dead. (Photo by Jorge Sanchez/Agencia Press South/Getty Images)

Jorge Sanchez/Agencia Press South/Getty

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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.

View of a dock destroyed by an earthquake in Puerto Bolivar, Machala, Ecuador, taken on March 19, 2023. - According to an official toll on Sunday, the death toll for a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador and Peru rose to 15. Saturday's quake, whose epicentre was in the Ecuadoran municipality of Balao, near the border with Peru, left 14 dead in the southwestern provinces of El Oro and Azuay. (Photo by Ariel SUAREZ / AFP) (Photo by ARIEL SUAREZ/AFP via Getty Images)
View of a dock destroyed by an earthquake in Puerto Bolivar, Machala, Ecuador, taken on March 19, 2023. - According to an official toll on Sunday, the death toll for a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador and Peru rose to 15. Saturday's quake, whose epicentre was in the Ecuadoran municipality of Balao, near the border with Peru, left 14 dead in the southwestern provinces of El Oro and Azuay. (Photo by Ariel SUAREZ / AFP) (Photo by ARIEL SUAREZ/AFP via Getty Images)

ARIEL SUAREZ/AFP via Getty

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."