Massive earthquake hits Peru, Ecuador: At least 14 killed

A strong earthquake that hit Peru and Ecuador on Saturday (March 18) left at least 14 people dead, one injured, and buildings damaged, according to Ecuador’s presidency. 

Cities like Machala and Cuenca in Ecuador saw damaged buildings, crushed cars, and debris as rescue workers rushed to offer assistance as terrified locals ran to the streets, reported NDTV.

The earthquake occurred around 12:12 local time, with a magnitude of 6.8 and a depth of roughly 41 miles (66 kilometres), according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) (1712 GMT). 

As per authorities, it had its epicentre close to the Peruvian border in the municipality of Balao in Ecuador.

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“I went out into the street because I saw people starting to run in panic, getting out of their cars,” Magaly Escandon, a sewing supplies saleswoman in Cuenca, told AFP.

“So far, 12 deaths are reported (11 in the province of El Oro and one in the province of Azuay),” Ecuador’s presidency said in a tweet.

In addition to Guayaquil, reports on social media suggested that the tremor was also felt strongly in other cities like Quito, Manabi, and Manta. zzzzz>

Guillermo Lasso, president of Ecuador, posted a tweet urging people to keep “calm and to be informed through official channels” of building damage. 

 Disclaimer: WION cannot independently verify the authenticity of photos and videos shared on social media.

In Cuenca, a vehicle was crushed under a house’s facade, leaving “a deceased individual,” according to Quito’s Risk Management Office. Old buildings in the historic centre of the city were damaged, according to AFP journalists present at the location.

Three people were reported dead nearby in the province of El Oro after a tower collapsed and fatally crushed them. 

A magnitude of 7.0 was initially recorded by Peruvian seismological authorities, but this was later revised to a magnitude of 6.7. 

Hernando Tavera, head of the National Seismological Center of Peru, informed RPP radio that “there is no significant damage to the structure or people” in the country.

(With inputs from agencies)