A powerful earthquake rocked the area around Ecuador’s second-largest city on Saturday, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings and sending terrified residents into the streets.
The USGS reported a 6.7-magnitude earthquake in the country’s coastal region of Guayas. It was centered about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metro area of more than 3 million people.
President Guillermo Lasso wrote on Twitter a message asking residents to remain calm.
The South American country’s emergency response agency, the Secretariat for Risk Management, has reported one death in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car trapped under the rubble of a house. The agency reported that three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro.
In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered three tunnels to be closed to vehicles.
Videos shared on social media show people gathered in the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People have reported falling objects inside their homes.
One video posted online showed three presenters parading from their studio desk while the set shook. They initially try to dismiss it as a simple earthquake but quickly flee the camera. One announcer noted that the show would be on commercial hiatus, while another repeated “Oh my God, my God”.
A dock sank in the city of Machala. The earthquake was also felt in northern Peru.
Associated Press writer Regina Garcia Cano contributed to this report from Caracas, Venezuela.
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