QUITO, March 18 (AP) A powerful earthquake shook the area around Ecuador’s second-largest city on Saturday, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings and sending panicked residents onto the streets.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 6.7-magnitude earthquake in the country’s coastal Guayas region.
It is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, a city of more than 3 million people.
President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to remain calm.
The South American country’s emergency response agency, the Risk Management Secretariat, reported one death in the Andean community of Cuenca.
The victim was a passenger in a vehicle trapped under the rubble of a house. Three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro, the agency reported.
In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes and some walls collapsed. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels.
Videos shared on social media showed people gathering in the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People are reporting objects falling into their homes.
A video posted online showed three presenters darts from their studio tables as the set shook. They initially tried to dismiss it as a minor earthquake, but quickly escaped the footage.
One anchor said the show would feature commercial breaks, while another repeated: “My God, my God.”
A pier sank in the city of Machala. The tremor was also felt in northern Peru. (Associated Press)
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