At least 12 dead after 6.5 magnitude earthquake off Ecuador
The quake was felt in 13 provinces, authorities said.
At least 12 people died after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off Ecuador on Saturday, President Guillermo Lasso said.
The quake happened around 12:22 p.m. local time, officials said. A magnitude 4.8 earthquake was also reported around 12:28 p.m., officials said. The centers of both were about 29 km from Balao, a town in the coastal province of Guayas, according to the Ecuadorian seismic institute.
The quake was felt in 13 provinces of the South American country, with Guayas, El Oro, Azuay and Chimborazo being the hardest hit, authorities said.
Search and rescue operations are underway, particularly in the town of Machala in the province of El Oro. The death toll could rise amid efforts to find those trapped under the rubble, officials said.
Eleven people have been confirmed dead in El Oro province and a 12th person has died in Azuay province, authorities said.
Several residences, including those located along the coast, are said to have collapsed.
The Ecuadorian authorities have activated a national operation committee to support people in need.
The strong seismic activity was also felt in northern Peru. No deaths have been reported there.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.