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At least 14 dead after 6.8 magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador and Peru


At least 14 people were killed and 381 injured in an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale in Ecuador on Saturday afternoon. This is reported by the Ecuadorian government. The quakes were felt as far north as Peru.

The earthquake happened about five miles away from the small coastal town of Balao, Ecuador, at a depth of nearly 40 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. It sent multiple buildings crashing into the sea at a seaport in the tourist town of Jambelí, their sloping roofs floating just a few feet above the water’s surface, as members of Ecuador’s armed forces responded to the scene.

At least seven houses were destroyed and 50 others were affected by the quake, the Ecuadorian government said said on Saturday. The facade of a building rained down on a vehicle in Cuenca, killing at least one person, and 17 education buildings and 31 health care buildings were also affected.

The dome of the Virgen De La Nube church in La Troncal had cracked badly, leaving holes in the walls of the bell tower, photos posted on social media showed.

In Peru, local media reported that a 4-year-old girl was killed in the Tumbes region after her home collapsed, citing a statement by Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.

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Ecuador has a history of deadly earthquakes and intense seismic activity. The country of about 17.8 million people experienced a massive magnitude 7.8 disaster in the northwest in 2016, which killed hundreds. Earthquakes in northern Ecuador also killed at least 1,000 people in 1987, in what was one of the most devastating natural disasters.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said on Saturday when he had visited the hard-hit city of Machala, where he assessed the damage and met victims in a hospital.

“I wanted to express my solidarity with the families of the dead and those injured in the earthquake,” he said.

Samantha Schmidt contributed to this report.

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