Fatal earthquake hits South America
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Ecuador and Peru on Saturday, damaging roads, leveling buildings, and killing at least 15 people while over 126 suffered injuries, according to initial estimates.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso's office confirmed 14 deaths, after the quake struck the coastal Guyas region at around noon. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter was located roughly 80km (50 miles) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city.
In the coastal state of El Oro, immediately to the south of the epicenter, multiple people were killed when a structure collapsed on the island of Jambeli. Another person was reportedly killed while traveling in a vehicle that became trapped under the rubble of a collapsing house in the town of Cuenca.
Across the border in Peru, a 4-year-old girl was killed when her home in the border region of Tumbes collapsed, according to Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.
Elsewhere, destruction of houses, commercial buildings, power and energy infrastructure, and roads was reported by Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat.
⚡️Destruction in Ecuador after 6.9M earthquake. pic.twitter.com/GQQ20dsjsb— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) March 18, 2023
Video footage from affected areas showed some of the damage, with clips from Cuenca appearing to capture the immediate aftermath of the fatality there.
#SISMOUna casa colapsó en #Machala debido al fuerte #sismo sentido hace minutos pic.twitter.com/3k4avJGulT— Zoom Ec (@ZoomEcuador) March 18, 2023
Reportan daños materiales en Puerto Bolívar a consecuencia de #Sismo de 6.5 pic.twitter.com/bAhiCwAd5R— A ɴ ᴅ ʀ ᴀ ᴅ ᴇ. (@JoshuaAndrade__) March 18, 2023
Ecuador sits along the junction of the Nazca and South American Plates, and suffers regular earthquakes. The most powerful of recent years was in 2016, which registered a magnitude of 7.8 and hit the country’s northwestern coast, near the town of Muisne. It killed at least 675 people and injured more than 16,000, while causing around $3 billion worth of damage.