Sunday, 17 April 2016

7.8 earthquake in Ecuador

Tsunami waves of up to 1m possible in Ecuador after 7.8 quake


17 April, 2016

A strong 7.8 earthquake has struck Ecuador's coastline, triggering a possible tsunami wave warning along some 300 miles of the coasts of both Ecuador and Colombia. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center forecast waves of up to one meter above the tide level.

Initially reported as 7.4 by USGS, the earthquake was centered at a shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles) some 107 miles (173 km) west northwest of the capital Quito. Some 10 minutes prior to the 7.8 jolt, the same area was hit by a 4.8 magnitude quake. The Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA) warned that powerful aftershocks are possible for the next 24 hours.

Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300 km of the epicenter along the coasts of Ecuador and Colombia,” PTWC said.
M7.4 earthquake strikes off northwest Ecuador coast (USGS)

The tsunami warning center added that a “destructive pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.”

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but reports on social media suggested that the quake caused some significant damage.

Emergency services reported that people were trapped underneath the rubble of a “collapsed structure” in the coastal city of Guayaquil. Guayaquil is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, with around 2.69 million people in the metropolitan area.

en Guayaquil, Ecuador ahora despues del terremoto

Photos shared by witnesses showed what appears to be a collapsed highway. The emergency services confirmed a partial bridge collapse and rescuers were dispatched to the scene.

Puente colapsado en Av de las Américas, tomar precauciones. atendiendo emergencias.
Strong shaking was felt in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito for some 40 seconds, according to AP, with people fleeing buildings in panic. Quito airport was reportedly evacuated over security concerns.

Some parts of Quito were left without power and telephone services, with residents using messaging apps such as WhatsApp for communication, Reuters reported.

An update

Ecuador earthquake of 7.8 magnitude kills dozens

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has killed at least 77 people and injured more than 500, Vice-President Jorge Glas says.

The quake struck at 18:58 local time on Saturday (23:58 GMT) near the northern coastal town of Muisne.

Widespread severe damage is reported, with a bridge destroyed as far south as Guayaquil about 300km (190 miles) way.

A state of emergency has been declared in six provinces and the National Guard has been mobilised.

The quake, the country's largest in decades, also shook buildings in the capital, Quito.

President Rafael Correa is cutting short his trip to Italy to return home. He called for calm, saying on Twitter: "Our infinite love to the families of the dead."

Mr Glas said that at least 77 people had died and 588 had been injured, and that emergency services, police and the army were "in a state of maximum alert to protect the lives of citizens".

Gabriel Alcivar, mayor of the town of Pedernale, which is close to the epicentre, said: "We're trying to do the most we can but there's almost nothing we can do."

He said dozens of buildings had been flattened and looting had broken out.

"This wasn't just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town," Mr Alcivar said.

Serious damage was also reported in the city of Manta, with an airport tower among the buildings destroyed.

Manta resident Ramon Solorzano told Reuters: "Most people are out in the streets with backpacks on, heading for higher ground. The streets are cracked. 

The power is out and phones are down."

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