A 6.7-magnitude tremor shook the coastal region of Guayas, damaging homes and buildings.
A strong earthquake shook the region around Ecuador’s second-largest city, killing at least four people, damaging homes and buildings and sending panicked residents into the streets.
The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.7 earthquake on Saturday in the country’s coastal Guayas region. It was centered about 80 km (50 mi) south of Guayaquil, which anchors a metro area of more than 3 million people.
President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message asking residents to remain calm.
The South American country’s emergency response agency, the Secretariat of Risk Management, said one person died in the Andean community of Cuenca. The victim was a passenger in a car buried under the rubble of a house.
In the coastal state of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under the rubble, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and the walls of a building cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters worked to rescue people while National Police assessed the damage, their work hampered by downed power lines that knocked out telephone and electrical service.
In Guayaquil, about 270 km (170 miles) southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in houses and other buildings and some collapsed walls. The authorities ordered the closure of three road tunnels.
Videos shared on social media showed people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People are reporting objects falling into their homes.
A video posted online shows three TV presenters shooting themselves from their studio desks as the set shakes.
At first they tried to shake it off as a mild earthquake, but soon ran away from the camera. One host pointed out that the show would go into a commercial break, while another echoed: “Oh my god. My God.”
A report from the Ecuadorian Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate ruled out a tsunami threat.
The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. In the northern Tumbes region, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.
Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake centered further north on the Pacific coast in a less populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.