Global Independent Analytics

Ecuador Earthquake Kills at Least 77

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the central coast of Ecuador on Saturday night

Maggy Ayala and Christopher Mele report for The New York Times: The effects of the quake could be felt as far away as the capital, Quito, which lies some 105 miles from the epicenter. Vice President Jorge Glas said that in addition to the 77 dead, more than 570 people were wounded.

The quake hit 16 miles southeast of Muisne, Ecuador. Officials declared a nationwide state exception, which expands government’s authority to deal with the accidents. Six more provinces were signed into a state of emergency. Deaths were reported in the northern provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí and Guayas, along the border with Colombia.

Adriana Villacís, a 40-year-old nurse, was with her husband and 4-year-old son at a supermarket about 30 minutes from Quito when, she said, she began to see groceries fall to the floor.

“The first thing I did was protect my son and look for the exit, but a part of the roof fell, and I was frozen,” she said. “Thank God we weren’t physically harmed, but the shock caused my child to vomit.”

Ayala and Mele continue: “In Quito, where the shaking was reportedly felt for about 40 seconds and residents took to the streets in fear, the quake appeared to have knocked out electricity and cellphone coverage in several neighborhoods.

The city’s mayor, Mauricio Rodas, said there had been rockslides on roads leading to the capital and reports that the walls of houses had fallen. But, he said, no fatalities or injuries had been reported in the capital.”

The President Rafal Correa called for strength unity in the face of the danger; however, it was indicated that the main threat from the tsunami has mostly passed.

“The quake, which occurred around nightfall, had a depth of nearly 12 miles. Several aftershocks, some as strong as magnitude 5.6, continued after the initial quake,” conclude Ayala and Mele.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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