A powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador today, with tremors felt as far away as Guayaquil, Machala, and neighbouring Peru, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported.
The quake was at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.21 miles). The earthquake, which struck at 12:12 p.m. local time on Saturday, was centred in Azuay Province, about 47 kilometres northwest of Cuenca and 77 kilometres southeast of Guayaquil.
Videos shared on social media show people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.7 and struck about 65 kilometres below the surface. According to Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute, the earthquake’s magnitude was lower, just at 6.5.
Ecuadorian authorities reported one death in the town of Cuenca, which is located inland to the east of the epicentre. The victim was traveling in a vehicle that became trapped under the rubble of a collapsing house.
Another three people died when a structure collapsed on the island of Jambeli, immediately to the south of the epicentre. Elsewhere, destruction of houses, commercial buildings, power and energy infrastructure, and roads was reported by Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat.