Quake damage is ‘significant but not devastating;’ Some schools will be closed today

Dec 4, 2017 | 3 comments

Early damage assessments from Sunday morning’s 6.0 magnitude coastal earthquake indicate some structural damage, mostly to buildings weakened by the April 2016 earthquake. Officials in Bahía de Caráquez, just south of the quake epicenter, say however, that hundreds of structures experienced superficial damage due to cracking masonry.

Broken wine bottles litter the floor of a Bahia de Caraquez grocery store.

“What is especially disturbing is that we suffered damage to some of the buildings that have been rebuilt since 2016,” said former National Assemblyman Leonardo Viteri. “I don’t believe we have lost any buildings but it is discouraging considering all that we have done to rebuild from the last earthquake.”

Among structures that sustained damage were a number of schools in Bahía de Caráquez, San Vicente, and neighboring communities. As a precautionary measure, emergency management officials ordered eight schools closed on Monday so that structural integrity assessments can be conducted.

Among Bahía de Caráquez buildings that suffered exterior damage were the municipal market, the Central Bank, Hotel Buena Vista, the Viteri Hospital and the Bahía de Caráquez City Museum. “We hope the damage is only superficial, to plaster and exterior masonry, but we will need to investigate to know for certain,” Viteri said.

Stores throughout the quake zone reported losses as a result of merchandise being knocked off shelves. Electronics, including televisions, and bottled products were among the biggest losses.

Geologists at Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute said the earthquake appeared to be unrelated to the 7.8 April 2016 event, despite the fact that the epicenters were only 20 miles apart. They also said that there was no connection to the November earthquakes in Guayas Province.

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