Two strong earthquakes rocked Ecuador’s north coast Sunday night, sending residents of many Esmeraldas Province communities into the streets. One of the quakes registered a magnitude of 6.4 according to Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute, the strongest since the powerful 7.8 earthquake that devastated the region on April 16. A 5.9 magnitude quake preceded it by ten minutes.
The Geophysical Institute said the earthquakes were centered on the island of Muisne, 40 kilometers south of the city of Esmeraldas.
The latest aftershocks follow several others that hit the same area last week.
According to police and firemen, the quakes damaged a number of buildings and caused the collapse of at least two damaged on April 16. They reported at least three highway closures due to landslides triggered by the shaking.
Early reports say that three people were injured.
The earthquakes were felt in much of the country, including in Quito, 150 kilometers to the east of the epicenter.
Local school officials cancelled Monday classes as a precautionary measure, although they say they have no reports of damage to school facilities. They said that power was out in much of the area, affecting a number of schools.
The Geophysical Institute says the recent aftershocks are due to a readjustment of the continental tectonic plates following the April 16 earthquake.