April 2016 – ECUADOR – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Ecuador’s coast Saturday, leaving at least 413 people dead and 1,900 wounded after causing buildings to shake in cities more than 100 miles away and collapsing an overpass, authorities and witnesses said. The Ecuadorian earthquake was 6 times stronger than the 7+ magnitude earthquake that recently struck the southern island of Japan. The temblor struck just before 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) with an epicenter 16 miles south-southeast of the coastal town of Muisne, located on the country’s northwestern coast, the U.S. National Geological Survey said. The quake was recorded at a depth of about 12 miles. Ecuador’s Vice President Jorge Glas said 28 people were killed according to initial information.
“Based on preliminary information, there are 16 people dead in the city of Portoviejo, 10 in Manta and two in the province of Guayas,” Glas in a televised address. “We continue to receive information.” The country’s Geophysics Institute in a bulletin described “considerable damage” in the area of the epicenter and in Guayaquil. President Rafael Correa said states of emergency were declared for the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo. The quake was strongly felt in country’s capital of Quito, around 100 miles away.
“I was in my house watching a movie and everything started to shake. I ran out into the street and now I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Lorena Cazares, 36, a telecommunications worker in Quito, told Reuters. A local Ecuadorian television station reported that houses collapsed in Esmeraldas, the province where Muisne is located, and power outages. A car was seen crushed after an overpass collapsed in the country’s largest city, Guayaquil, located 200 miles to to the south.
Video posted online showed damage to a shopping mall in Portoviejo and people crowded in the street outside as alarms rang. There is no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. NOAA’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves up to 3 feet above tide level were possible for some coastal areas of Ecuador. Ecuador’s president said there was no evidence of a tsunami but said those on the coasts should seek higher ground as a precaution. Two smaller quakes were recorded near Ecuador’s coast before and after the 7.8-magnitude temblor, according to the USGS. A 4.8 occurred about 10 minutes before the larger quake, and a 5.4-magnitude earthquake happened 30 minutes after it, the USGS said. –NBC