At least 12 people have died after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region around Ecuador’s second largest city, Guayaquil, while a child also died in Peru.
The earthquake was centered about 80 km south of Guayaquil, according to the US Geological Survey.
It was also felt as far north as Peru, where government officials said a 4-year-old girl died after the roof of her house collapsed in the Tumbes region on the border with Ecuador.
Residents of the city of Guayaquil – which lies about 270 km southwest of EcuadorThe capital of Quito – reported that objects had fallen inside their homes during the tremor.
Footage shared on social media shows panicked residents rushing into the streets.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso tweeted a message urging residents to stay calm before announcing that the disaster had claimed 12 lives.
Ecuador’s emergency response agency, the Secretariat for Risk Management, said one person died in the Andean community of Cuenca.
The victim was said to be a passenger in a vehicle stuck under a collapsed house.
Three people have died and several others have been trapped in the rubble in the coastal state of El Oro, it has been learned.
In the community of Machala, a number of people were trapped in a two-storey house after it collapsed.
A jetty also sank at Machala.
Rescue work was made more difficult due to downed power lines which affected telephone and electricity.
A clip posted online showed three TV presenters emerging from their studio desks as things around them began to shake.
One presenter suggested the show would go through a commercial break, while another repeated, “My God, my God.”
Five dead after floods in Turkey’s quake-hit areas
Ecuador fears endangered Galapagos tortoises have been hunted and slaughtered
A report from the Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate ruled out a tsunami threat in the South American country.
Ecuador is earthquake-prone: in 2016, more than 600 people were killed in an earthquake centered on a less populated part of the country further north on the Pacific coast.