At least 16 people have been confirmed killed and thousands of others displaced after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit a coastal region of Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, causing structural damage to multiple homes, schools and medical centers.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake which measured at magnitude 6.8, struck at a depth of 66.4 km (41.3 miles) about 10 km (6.2 miles) from the city of Balao in the province of Guayas, but did not appear likely to generate a tsunami, authorities said.
The initial quake was followed by two weaker aftershocks in the following hour, according to the Geophysics Institute of Ecuador.
On its part, Peruvian authorities said the quake was felt in the country’s northern region, but there were no immediate reports of harm to people or structures.
Ecuador’s Secretariat of Risk Management said in an earlier statement that one death in Azuay province occurred when a wall collapsed on to a vehicle.
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“In other provinces, structural damage included a collapsed wharf and a fallen wall in a supermarket,” it said.
Ecuadorian President, Guillermo Lasso, who led a rescue team to the affected region, posted in a tweet late on Saturday night:
“We remain in the territory verifying the damage caused by the earthquake this morning. I want to confirm that I am with you and express my solidarity and commitment to the victims.”
The presidency’s communication agency said the quake left 16 people dead, and more than 380 people were injured, largely in the El Oro province.
The agency said at least 44 homes were destroyed, while 90 more were damaged.
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