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At least 14 killed after 6.8-magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador and Peru

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At least 14 people were killed and 381 injured in Ecuador in a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that shattered buildings and crushed a car on Saturday afternoon, according to the Ecuadoran government. Tremors were felt as far as northern Peru.

The earthquake happened about five miles from the small coastal city of Balao, Ecuador, at a depth of nearly 41 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It sent multiple buildings plunging into the sea at a maritime port in the tourist town of Jambelí, their slanted roofs hovering just a few feet above the water’s surface, as members of Ecuador’s armed forces responded to the scene.

At least seven homes were destroyed and 50 others were affected in the quake, the Ecuadoran government said on Saturday. The facade of one building rained down on a vehicle in Cuenca, killing at least one person, and 17 educational buildings as well as 31 health-care-related structures were also affected.

The dome of the Virgen De La Nube Church in La Troncal was severely cracked, leaving holes in the walls of its clock tower, photos posted on social media showed.

In Peru, local media reported that a 4-year-old girl in the region of Tumbes was killed after her home collapsed, citing a statement from Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.

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Ecuador has a history of fatal earthquakes and intense seismic activity. The country of approximately 17.8 million people in 2016 experienced a massive 7.8-magnitude disaster in the northwest that killed hundreds. Earthquakes in northern Ecuador also killed at least 1,000 people in 1987, in what was one of its most devastating natural disasters.

Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso said on Saturday that he had visited the hard-hit city of Machala, where he assessed the damage and met with victims in a hospital.

“I’ve wanted to express solidarity with the families of the dead and solidarity with those injured in the earthquake,” he said.

Samantha Schmidt contributed to this report.


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