Magnitude 6.8 earthquake shakes Ecuador

Photo: cfariasvega/Twitter

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook a coastal region of Ecuador and northern Peru midday Saturday, leaving at least four people dead and resulting in some structural damage.

The earthquake had its epicenter 29 kilometers from the city of Balao in the province of Guayas, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake did not appear likely to generate a tsunami, authorities said. However, it caused some damage to buildings and infrastructure in the affected areas.

The Secretariat of Risk Management in Ecuador reported that one person died in the city of Cuenca after a facade collapsed onto a vehicle, while three others died in the town of Machala.

The quake also led to structural damage in two other provinces, including a collapsed wall in a supermarket. Multiple communities lost power, and a two-story home and a wharf collapsed.

The state-run oil company Petroecuador had evacuated and suspended activities in multiple facilities out of precaution but had not reported damage.

Video footage on social media showed damaged buildings, rubble on the streets, and fallen traffic lights in the aftermath of the earthquake.

The initial quake was followed by two weaker aftershocks in the following hour, according to the Geophysics Institute of Ecuador.

Peruvian authorities said that the quake was felt in the country's northern region, and that there were no immediate reports of harm to people or structures.

The earthquake prompted Ecuador's president to declare a state of emergency for the affected areas, allowing for resources to be allocated to help those affected.

The earthquake caused significant concern for the residents of the affected areas, with many taking to social media to express their fears and share their experiences. The authorities have urged people to remain calm and stay informed through official channels.