6.7 magnitude earthquake shakes coastal region of Guayas, damaging homes and buildings.
A powerful earthquake has rocked the region around Ecuador’s second-largest city, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings, and sending panicked residents onto the streets.
The United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the Guayas coastal region of the country on Saturday. It was centered about 50 miles (80 km) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metropolitan area 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 that one person died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car trapped under the rubble of a house. Three other people died in the coastal state of El Oro, the agency said.
In Guayaquil, about 270 kilometers (170 miles) southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in houses and other buildings, as well as some collapsed walls. The authorities ordered the closure of three highway tunnels.
Videos shared on social media show people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People reported objects falling inside their houses.
A video posted online showed three TV show hosts being thrown from their studio desk as the set trembled.
They initially tried to shake it off as a minor earthquake, but soon fled the chamber. One host indicated that the show would have a commercial break while another repeated: “My God. My God.”
A pier in the city of Machala sank. The quake was also felt in northern Peru.