More than three dozen earthquakes, including one measuring 4.9 magnitude, jolted residents in Esmeraldas and Manibi Provinces Wednesday morning. Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute said the quakes were aftershocks from the 7.8 April 16 earthquake.
Authorities were conducting a damage assessment on Wednesday but preliminary reports showed only minor damage. No injuries have been reported.
The cluster of earthquakes began about 1 a.m. and ended about 7 a.m.. according to a Geophysical Institute spokesman. The perceptible quakes ranged from 3.2 to 4.9, with the 4.9 event occurring at 1:19 a.m. Most of the earthquakes were centered in an area just north of Esmeraldas.
Late Wednesday night, a 4.5 earthquake was recorded near the epicenter of the massive April 16 quake.
Hundreds of local residents spent the night in the streets or local parks in the city of Esmeraldas. Several families told a tv reporter that their houses had been destroyed in the April 16 earthquake.
Schools in parts of Emeraldas Province were ordered closed by officials Wednesday morning. “The tremors were still occurring when we made the decision,” said Alison Gomez, spokeswoman for Zone One schools. “We didn’t want to put our students at risk,” she added.