Quito: At least 28 people were killed by a strong 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Ecuador today, the country’s Vice President Jorge Glas said.
“We have 16 people dead in the city of Portoviejo, 10 in Manta and two in the province of Guayas,” he told a news conference. He added that a state of emergency had been declared nationwide.
“Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
With a depth of 10 kilometres, the quake struck at 2358 GMT about 173 km west-northwest of Quito and just 28 kilometres south-southeast of Muisne, the USGS said.
Buildings swayed in Quito but authorities did not immediately report injuries or damage. In fact, two earthquakes jolted the same area just 11 minutes apart, the USGS said. The first measured 4.8 and the second 7.8.
The quake also rattled northern Peru, authorities there said. The major jolt came as rescuers in Japan were racing against the weather and the threat of more landslides to reach people still trapped by two big earthquakes that hit that country’s south.
At last 41 people are known to have died in the double disaster, with at least six still missing — feared buried in shattered houses or under torrents of mud.