A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern coast of Ecuador, killing at least 12 people, and neighboring Peru also recorded tremors.
The magnitude 6.8 earthquake occurred at 12:12 am on March 18 (0:12 am today Hanoi time) with the epicenter located at a depth of 66 km, about 10 km from the city of Balao in southwestern Ecuador. Authorities said the quake did not pose a tsunami risk.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said emergency forces were deployed in the affected areas. At least 12 people were killed and many injured were taken to hospital.
A series of houses, schools and medical centers were damaged by the earthquake, and many roads were also blocked by landslides. Santa Rosa International Airport suffered minor damage and remains open.
“We all ran into the street, everyone was very scared,” recalled Ernesto Alvarado, a resident near the epicenter, adding that several houses had collapsed.
At least two aftershocks occurred within an hour of the quake.
Peruvian authorities said areas in the northern part of the country, bordering Ecuador, also experienced tremors from the quake, but there were no reports of damage.
Vu Anh (Theo Reuters)