A powerful earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least a dozen people and trapping others under rubble, sending rescue teams into streets littered with debris and downed power lines.
The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered near the Pacific coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city.
In a televised address to the nation, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso said 12 people had died in the earthquake.
According to the Secretariat for Risk Management, the South American country’s emergency management agency, one victim was a passenger in a car that was crushed by the debris of a house in the Andean community of Cuenca.
In the coastal state of El Oro, three people died, several were trapped under the rubble, the agency reports. In the village of Machala, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, the pier gave way, and the walls of the building cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters worked to save people while the National Police assessed the damage, hampered by downed power lines that knocked out phone and electricity.
In Guayaquil, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and houses and collapsed walls. Authorities have ordered the closure of three car tunnels in Guayaquil, which connect the metro area with more than 3 million people.
Videos shared on social media showed people gathering on the streets of Guayaquil and nearby communities. People have reported falling objects in their homes.
One video posted online showed the three presenters throwing a dart from the studio table as the set shook. At first they tried to reset it due to a minor earthquake, but soon escaped from the cell. One of the hosts revealed that the show would have a commercial break, while another repeated: “Oh my God, oh my God.”
A report from Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Office ruled out a tsunami threat.
The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. The dead and wounded were not immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.
Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake centered further north on the Pacific coast in a more sparsely populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.
Associated Press writer Regina Garcia Cano contributed to this report from Caracas, Venezuela.