(MENAFN) A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Ecuador and Peru on Saturday, causing widespread damage, leveling buildings, and claiming at least 15 lives, with over 126 people injured, according to initial reports. The epicenter of the earthquake was located roughly 80 km (50 miles) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador's second-largest city, in the coastal Guyas region.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso's office confirmed 14 deaths in the aftermath of the quake, with the coastal state of El Oro, located to the south of the epicenter, being particularly hard hit. Multiple people were killed when a structure collapsed on the island of Jambeli. Another person was reportedly killed while traveling in a vehicle that became trapped under the rubble of a collapsing house in the town of Cuenca.
Peru was also affected, with a 4-year-old girl reportedly losing her life when her home in the border region of Tumbes collapsed. Ecuador's Risk Management Secretariat reported damage to houses, commercial buildings, power and energy infrastructure, and roads. Video footage from affected areas showed the extent of the damage, with clips from Cuenca appearing to capture the immediate aftermath of the fatality there.
Ecuador is situated at the junction of the Nazca and South American Plates, and the country experiences regular earthquakes. The most powerful earthquake in recent years was in 2016, which registered a magnitude of 7.8 and hit the northwestern coast of the country, near the town of Muisne. The 2016 earthquake claimed at least 675 lives, injured over 16,000 people, and caused around $3 billion worth of damage. The latest earthquake highlights the need for continued vigilance and preparedness in the region.
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