At least 14 people were killed and others injured, according to an official toll, in an earthquake that struck southern Ecuador on Saturday and was felt by Peruvians, damaging residential buildings, schools and medical centers.
The American Seismological Institute reported that the quake had a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale. Ecuadorian authorities said it was 6.5 degrees, while Peruvian authorities reported 6.7 degrees.
The presidential media body said the quake injured 380 people, and authorities said it was unlikely to cause a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso urged his compatriots in a tweet to remain calm and receive information through official channels.
Visité el Hospital General del IESS-Machala para verificar personalmente el estado de salud de los ciudadanos afectados por el sismo. Todos han sido atendidos por el personal de salud y tendrán seguimiento para su recuperación. Ecuatorianos, no están solos. pic.twitter.com/Ywb1d0vPYW
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) March 19, 2023
The authority said at least 44 houses had collapsed, while 90 had been damaged. Some 50 educational buildings and more than 30 medical centres were damaged, and several roads were blocked by landslides caused by the earthquake.
For their part, authorities in Peru announced that the quake was felt by residents in the northern region of the country, and there were no immediate reports of human or material damage.