Earthquake kills at least 15 in Ecuador and Peru

According to the American Seismological Institute USGS, the earthquake reached a magnitude of 6.8. Authorities in Ecuador rated it at 6.5 and those in Peru at 6.7. In Ecuador, 14 people were killed and several others injured in the provinces of El Oro and Azuay, in the southwest of the country, the presidency announced. In the Peruvian town of Tumbes, on the border with Ecuador, a four-year-old girl was killed by a stone that fell on her head, authorities said. “Where the pool of blood is, she was playing with my other niece and a log fell on her,” said David Alvarado, the child’s uncle.

Collapsed houses

The earthquake struck at 12:12 p.m. at a depth of 44 km, with the epicenter in the town of Balao, about 140 km south of the main Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil. It caused panic among local residents who took to the streets. Houses collapsed in several cities, including Cuenca, in Azuay province, one of the hardest hit cities.

  • A collapsed building in Machala, Ecuador.


  • Panic in the streets of Cuenca.

    Panic in the streets of Cuenca.


  • A car crushed by falling rocks.

    A car crushed by falling rocks.


“I took to the streets because I saw people running in terror, others getting out of cars,” says Magaly Escandón, a sewing goods retailer in this Andean city. “They ran, they screamed, they cried.”

In the historic center of Cuenca, AFP journalists saw collapsed buildings, damaged old houses, cracked walls and vehicles crushed by rubble. Several streets in this city were blocked due to landslides caused by the earthquake. Ecuadorian authorities reported 360 destroyed or damaged buildings in the country. 22 landslides were reported in Azuay province. In Tumbes, 12 houses were damaged.

call for calm

The earthquake was even felt in the capital Quito, according to testimonials on social networks. “I call for calm and information through official channels,” Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso tweeted, who immediately went to El Oro province and then to Cuenca to “assess the damage.”

Brazil expressed solidarity with the two affected countries on Sunday, as Chile had already done the day before, saying it was “ready to provide all possible assistance to the authorities to respond to the humanitarian emergency”.

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