A strong 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 into the streets.
The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the country’s coastal Guayas region. It was centered about 80 kilometers south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metropolitan area of over 3 million people.
President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to remain calm.
The South American country’s rescue service, the Risk Management Secretariat, reported that one person died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a vehicle that was pinned under the rubble of a house. Three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro, the agency reported.
In Guayaquil, about 270 kilometers southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. The authorities ordered the closure of three vehicle tunnels.
Videos shared on social media show people gathered in the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People reported objects falling into their homes.
A video posted online showed three anchors of a show dart from their studio desk as the set shook. They first tried to shake it off as a minor tremor but soon fled the camera. One anchor indicated that the show would go on a commercial break, while another repeated, “My God, my God.”
A pier sank in the town of Machala. The earthquake was also felt in northern Peru.
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