Strong quake kills at least 15 in Ecuador and Peru
At least 15 people have died after a strong earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru, trapping others under rubble and sending rescue teams out into streets littered with debris and fallen power lines.
The US Geological Survey reported Saturday's earthquake had a magnitude of about 6.8 that was centred just off the Pacific coast, about 80 kilometres south of Guayaquil, Ecuador's second-largest city.
A four-year-old girl died in Peru, while 14 others died in Ecuador, where authorities also reported that at least 126 people were injured.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso told reporters the earthquake had "without a doubt ... generated alarm in the population".
Lasso's office said 12 of the victims died in the coastal state of El Oro and two in the highlands state of Azuay.
In Peru, the earthquake was felt from its northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast.
Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otarola said a four-year-old girl died from head trauma she suffered in the collapse of her home in the Tumbes region, on the border with Ecuador.
One of the victims in Azuay was a passenger in a vehicle crushed by rubble from a house in the Andean community of Cuenca, according to the Risk Management Secretariat, Ecuador's emergency response agency.
In El Oro, the agency also reported that several people were trapped under rubble. In the community of Machala, a two-storey home collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and a building's walls cracked, trapping an unknown number of people.
The agency said firefighters worked to rescue people while the National Police assessed damage, their work made more difficult by downed lines that interrupted telephone and electricity service.
Ecuador's government also reported damages to healthcare centres and schools. Lasso said he would travel to El Oro.
In Guayaquil, about 270km southwest of the capital, Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and homes, as well as some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicular tunnels in Guayaquil.
Peruvian authorities said the old walls of an army barracks collapsed in Tumbes.
Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, a quake centred farther north on the Pacific coast in a more sparsely populated area of the country killed more than 600 people.