Death toll now reached 14 people as 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday. The quake devastated many buildings in Guayaquil, Ecuador, cut off power lines, filled the streets with scattered debris, trapped people under rubble, and left more than 400 people injured as Ecuadorians mourn for the loss of their love ones and for the destruction of their homes.
Authorities reported that the tremor was also felt in Peru but there was only one death, unlike in Ecuador were some women and children said to have been discovered by their relatives clutching on each other when the tragedy strikes. The quake was felt in both the country sides and the coastal areas of Peru and it destroyed hundreds of homes and building infrastructures in those areas. Official reports also said four homes have collapsed while “essential services and transportation infrastructure were undamaged”.
Azuay, a province located in the south center of Ecuador, immediately declared emergency as the disaster cut off roads, making other roads difficult to pass through, leaving the situation unbearably worst for the locals. In Cuenca, the capital of Azuay Province, a passenger in a vehicle died as it was crushed by rubbles from a house.
Meanwhile in Ecuador, some residents blame the building standards especially on the areas prone to earthquake, saying many of the houses that crumbled were old and are not capable of surviving tremors. This is what poor settlers in both the urban areas and the cities have in common, according to one of the residents interviewed by NBC News.
Another person said he had lost three relatives as his niece’s home was wrecked by the earthquake. According to him, the government has offered to shoulder the funeral of his relatives. While he appreciates and accept the offer, the person still says the government should have better building and construction regulation to make sure the building conditions are always safe.
In Puna Island, a team of humanitarian aid was prepared in early Sunday as authorities assessed the situation and the needs of the affected people. In a Twitter post, President Guillermo Lasso wrote: “We will continue working all weekend. All the ministries are active and have the financial resources to urgently attend to this emergency.”
According to government reports, there were 84 homes destroyed and 180 slightly damaged, including dozens of Ecuadorian health centers and educational units. Lastly, Petroecuador, the state-run oil company, reported that “an offshore platform near the epicenter suffered damage that caused machinery to fail, temporarily reducing production”.
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