Quito, April 17:
At least 41 people were killed as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador, the media reported on Sunday.
The toll from Saturday’s earthquake has risen to 41, Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas said on Sunday. It will “unfortunately rise in the coming hours.”
The government has declared a nationwide state of emergency and activated its Emergency Operations Committee, which is tasked with coordinating emergency services, Xinhua reported.
The quake which occurred at 18.58 (local time) was centred just off the country’s northwest coast at a shallow depth of 19 km, according to the US Geological Survey, which originally put the quake at a magnitude of 7.4 and then raised it to 7.8.
Ecuador’s Institute of Geophysics put the magnitude at 6.5 and the depth at 10 km.
In the capital city of Quito, the quake was felt for about 40 seconds and people fled to the streets in panic.
In the biggest port city of Guayaquil, an overline bridge collapsed on top of a car and the roof of a supermarket buckled.
In the coastal city of Manta, the airport was closed after the control tower suffered severe damages.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said hazardous tsunami waves are possible for some coasts.
Ecuador is located in a region with frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. (IANS)