Forceful earthquake devastates Ecuador

At least 16 people have died after an earthquake of 6.8 magnitude struck southern Ecuador on Saturday afternoon, according to government officials. Others were trapped under rubble for hours before being rescued.

The earthquake struck near the southern town of Baláo and was over 65 km deep, according to the United States Geological Survey.

An estimated 381 people were injured in the quake, the General Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency of Ecuador tweeted on their official account.

In the province of El Oro, at least 11 people died. At least one other death was reported in the province of Azuay, according to the communications department for Ecuador’s president. In an earlier statement, authorities said the person in Azuay was killed when a wall collapsed onto a car and that at least three of the victims in El Oro died when a security camera tower came down.

he 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.

CNN afiliate Ecuavisa reported structural damage to buildings in Cuenca, one of the country’s biggest cities. The historic city is in the UN list of world heritage sites.

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.

In light of repeated earthquakes, Ro Govt. buckles down on prevention


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