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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Powerful 6.8 earthquake hits coastal Ecuador, killing 4 people

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A powerful earthquake struck coastal Ecuador on Saturday, killing at least four people, according to a government statement.

Local news reports say there was damage to a number of buildings and homes in the Guayas region.

The quake hit at a depth of about 66 kilometers and had a magnitude of 6.8, the US Geological Survey said on its website. The Ecuadorian government put the magnitude at 6.5. Local news reports say there was damage to a number of buildings and homes in the Guayas region.

One person died when a building collapsed on their car in the town of Cuenca, while three more were killed in the areas of Santa Rosa, about 530 km (329 miles) southwest of Quito. Various others are trapped under the rubble, the government added.

The Esmeraldas oil pipeline to the capital Quito was temporarily suspended, but it now operating again, while workers were evacuated as a precaution from a coastal liquefied natural gas plant and two terminals. There are also blackouts in some areas.

Ecuador is on the so-called ring of fire around the Pacific and is the regular site of earthquakes. The most deadly recent quake was in 2016, when over 600 people died.

Social media postings showed a collapsed building in the coastal town of Machala, according to a video on Twitter.

Another building was damaged further inland in the city of Cuenca, where part of the facade fell onto a car.

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