Government officials report that a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that rocked southern Ecuador on Saturday afternoon left at least 13 people dead.
The earthquake was about 65 km (almost 41 miles) deep when it occurred in the southern town of Baláo, according to the United States Geological Survey.
According to the president of Ecuador’s communications office, at least 11 people perished in the province of El Oro and at least one person died in the province of Azuay. Authorities said that the person in Azuay died when a wall fell on top of a car, and that at least three of the deceased in El Oro died when a security camera tower collapsed in an earlier statement. The Presidency stated that injured people were receiving medical care in hospitals, but it made no more specific comments.
According to the USGS, “substantial casualties are anticipated and the tragedy is potentially widespread.” The tremor was given a “orange alert.”
According to the USGS, previous incidents with this alert level have necessitated a regional or national level of reaction. It also provided an estimate of the potential harm and financial losses.
Guayaquil, a port city in western Ecuador, reported feeling “extremely severe” tremors. Buildings in Cuenca, one of the largest cities in the nation, were reported to have structural damage by Ecuavisa. The old city is one of the world heritage sites recognized by the UN.
The US National Weather Service reports that there is no tsunami warning in place for the region.
The Guayaquil and Cuenca airports were still open and functioning, according to the nation’s statement.