March 19, 2023 at 01:59
A strong earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least 15 people, trapping others under rubble, and sending rescue teams out into streets littered with debris and fallen power lines.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centered just off the Pacific Coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city.
One of the victims died in Peru, while 14 others died in Ecuador, where authorities also reported that at least 126 people were injured.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters the earthquake had "without a doubt ... generated alarm in the population."
Lasso’s office in a statement said 12 of the victims died in the coastal state of El Oro and two in the highlands state of Azuay.
In Peru, the earthquake was felt from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast.
Machala resident Fabricio Cruz said he was in his third-floor apartment when he felt a strong tremor and saw his television hit the ground.
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 the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchors a metro area of over 3 million people.
One anchor indicated the show would go on a commercial break, while another repeated, "My God, my God."
He said their boat began moving "like a racehorse, we got scared, and when we turned on the radio, we heard about the earthquake."
Peruvian authorities said the old walls of an Army barracks collapsed in Tumbes.