At least 14 people were killed in a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador and Peru


At least 14 people were killed and 381 injured in a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that toppled buildings and crushed a car in Ecuador on Saturday afternoon. According to the Ecuadorian government. The tremor was felt as far north as Peru.

The earthquake happened about five kilometers away from the small coastal town of Balao, Ecuador, at a depth of nearly 41 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. It sent several buildings plunged into the sea at the seaport of the tourist town of JambelĂ­, their slanted roofs hovering just meters above the water’s surface as members of Ecuador’s armed forces responded to the scene.

At least seven homes were destroyed and 50 others were injured in the quake, Ecuador’s government said said on Saturday. The facade of one building fell on a vehicle in Cuenca, killing at least one person, and 17 educational buildings and 31 health-related structures were also damaged.

The dome of the Virgen De La Nube church in La Troncal badly cracked, leaving holes in the walls of its bell tower, pictures posted on social media showed.

In Peru, local media reported that a 4-year-old girl in the Tumbes region died after her home collapsed, according to a statement by Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.

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Ecuador has had fatal earthquakes and strong seismic activity. In 2016, the country of about 17.8 million people experienced a massive 7.8 magnitude disaster in the northwest, killing hundreds. Earthquakes in northern Ecuador also killed at least 1,000 people in 1987, one of its most devastating natural disasters.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said on Saturday that he had visited the hard-hit town of Machala, where he assessed the damage and met with victims in hospital.

“I have wanted to express solidarity with the families of the dead and solidarity with those injured in the earthquake,” he said.

Samantha Schmidt contributed to this report.

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