An earthquake of magnitude-7.8 shook the Ecuadorian coastal town of Muisne Saturday night, killing not less than 28 people according to the Vice President of Ecuador, Jorge Glas in a televised address to the nation.
The quake which was felt in the capital Quito was also felt in neighbouring Colombia leading to the evacuation of patients from a clinic in the city of Cali. Collapsed bridge, lights out, tremors and loss of power are a few of the the destruction that characterised the quake.
The tremor was centered about about 27 kilometers (16.8 miles) south-southeast of Muisne, according to the United States Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of consequential damage or injuries in the capital of Quito, located 173 kilometers (108 miles) from the epicenter of the earthquake but new reports according to BBC said parts of the capital were left without electricity for some time and the tremor also shook buildings, forcing residents to flee their homes in panic.
An airport tower in the city of Manta is also said to have been destroyed and a big oil refinery shut down as a precautionary measure.
Quito resident Zoila Villena told the Associated Press news agency: “I’m in a state of panic. My building moved a lot and things fell to the floor. Lots of neighbours were screaming and kids crying.”
According to CNN, Jorge Glas said preventive evacuations are underway in the coastal areas which are at risk of a possible tsunami and a state of emergency has been declared in six provinces. The police and army were “in a state of maximum alert to protect the lives of citizens.”
A resident of the city of Guayaquil with a population of 2 million people told his brother, a CNN employee that many building have lost power. A video from a store showed shoppers shaken by the quake which lasted for less than a minute, with items falling off the shelves and the alarm and lights going off.
Ecuador is prone to earthquakes. It is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped, seismically turbulent area of the Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a threat forecast for some parts of Ecuador, saying waves could could reach 1 meter (3 feet) above tide level. An earlier warning for other nations with coastlines on the Pacific was canceled.
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