A strong earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least four people, trapping others under rubble, and sending rescue teams out into streets littered with debris and fallen power lines.
At least four people died after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck southern Ecuador on Saturday afternoon, the country’s government said in a statement.
The earthquake struck near the southern town of Baláo and was more than 65 km (nearly 41 miles) deep, according to the United States Geological Survey.
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The USGS gave the tremor an “orange alert,” saying “significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”
“Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response,” the USGS added. It also estimated damage and economic losses were possible.
One person died in the city of Cuenca, in the province of Azuay, when a wall collapsed onto their car. In the coastal province of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under rubble, the agency reported.
In the community of Machala, a two-storey home collapsed before people could be evacuated, a pier gave way and a building’s walls cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters worked to rescue people while the national police assessed damage, their work made more difficult by downed lines that interrupted telephone and electricity service.
In Guayaquil, about 170 miles south-west of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks on buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicle tunnels.
Videos shared on social media show people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities and people reported objects falling inside their homes.
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One video posted online showed three TV presenters dart from their studio desk as their set shook. They initially tried to dismiss the tremors as a minor quake but soon fled off camera. One anchor indicated the show would go to a commercial break, while another repeated: “My God, my God.”
A report from Ecuador’s adverse events monitoring directorate ruled out a tsunami threat.
The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.
There is no tsunami warning in effect for the area, according to the US National Weather Service.
The airports of Guayaquil and Cuenca remained open and operational, the country’s statement said.
Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, a quake centered farther north on the Pacific Coast in a more sparsely populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.
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With all the solar activity going on, expect even more big quakes and volcanic eruptions around the world, especially along the Ring of Fire.
I read a report a while back that solar activity excites magma.
The interactive earthquake map for central and south America has been red hot for weeks. Only a matter of time the central America area will be toast. Cocos plate and Carribean plates. Watch that area.