A strong earthquake that shook a coastal region of Ecuador and northern Peru killed at least 14 people and damaged numerous homes, schools, and medical centres.
The magnitude 6.8 quake struck at a depth of 66.4 km (41.3 miles) about 10 km (6.2 miles) from the city of Balao in the Guayas province.
Authorities said the earthquake did not appear to have the potential to cause a tsunami.
In a tweet Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said, “We remain in the territory verifying the damage caused by the earthquake this morning. I want to confirm that I am with you and express my solidarity and commitment to the victims”.
According to the presidential communication agency, the quake killed 14 people and injured over 380 others, mostly in the El Oro province.
At least 44 homes were destroyed, and another 90 were damaged. Around 50 educational buildings and over 30 health centres were also damaged, and landslides caused by the earthquake blocked multiple roadways.
Although, the Santa Rosa airport sustained minor damage but remained operational.
In an earlier statement, Ecuador’s Secretariat of Risk Management stated that one death occurred in Azuay province when a wall collapsed onto a vehicle. In other provinces, structural damage included a collapsed wharf and a fallen wall in a supermarket.
State-run oil company Petroecuador had evacuated and suspended activities in multiple facilities out of precaution, but had not reported damage, the agency said.
“We all ran out into the streets… we were very scared,” Ernesto Alvarado, a resident of Isla Puna near the epicentre, told Reuters, adding that some homes had collapsed.
The initial quake was followed by two weaker aftershocks in the following hour, according to the Geophysics Institute of Ecuador.
Peruvian authorities said the quake was felt in the country’s northern region, but there were no immediate reports of harm to people or structures.