Strong earthquake near Guayaquil felt in most of the country; Some damage reported near epicenter
A strong magnitude 6.1 earthquake centered 15 kilometers north of Guayaquil was felt throughout much of the country Thursday afternoon, sending workers and residents into the streets and causing damage to some structures. One person was killed in Samborondón as a result of electric shock from a falling cable.
The quake occurred at 5:30 p.m. and was felt as far away as Quito, Manta, Cuenca and Esmeraldas. The National Emergency Management Service said that two buildings collapsed in Guayaquil while several sustained major damage in Samborondón and Simón Bolívar, near the epicenter.
“With several exceptions, we have avoided major damage despite the strength of the event but we continue to monitor reports in the region,” the emergency service reported. “Many structures suffered cracking of masonry and there was falling debris at several locations in Guayaquil, especially in the downtown area.”
Among the buildings suffering exterior damage was the Oro Verde Hotel, where workers removed debris immediately following the quake.
Although the quake was felt in much of Cuenca and Azuay Province, a city spokesman called the shaking “mild to moderate.” The impact was strongest in western areas of the province while residents of high-rise condominiums on Cuenca’s west side reported intense shaking for several seconds. “In the historic center, because of the rock substrata, many residents felt nothing at all,” the spokesman added.
Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute reported six aftershocks before midnight, saying most were minor, less than 3.0 magnitude.