Earthquake in Ecuador and Peru leaves deaths and destruction

Earthquake in Ecuador and Peru leaves deaths and destruction

Juan Vera lost three members of his family when a fort earthquake happened the day before shook parts of Ecuador and Peru tearing down his niece’s house. The government has offered to pay for the woman’s funeral as well as her baby and her partner’s, but Vera wonders why the local authorities allowed her relatives to live in such an old house in the first place.

“Because of their years of experience, that building already had to be demolished,” Vera said outside the morgue in the Ecuadorian community of Machala, where the three bodies were awaiting delivery.

“Excuse me, the mayor’s office is the entity that has to regulate these things through its planning departments so that the buildings are in good condition to be able to rent them or to be able to inhabit them,” he added.

The magnitude 6.8 tremor, according to the United States Geological Survey, left in Ecuador and Peru at least 15 dead, hundreds injured, around 180 houses affected -84 of them completely destroyed- and numerous buildings collapsed in vastly different communities, from the coastal zone to the highlands. The main damage and deaths occurred in Ecuadorian territory.

Many of the houses that collapsed had a lot in common: they were inhabited by poor people.

But in Ecuador, regardless of geography, many of the houses that fell apart had a lot in common: they were inhabited by poor people, they were old, and they did not meet building regulations in the country, which is prone to earthquakes.

The earthquake was centered on the Pacific coast, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, the second largest city in Ecuador. Hours later, another earthquake of magnitude 4.2 was felt, according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru.

One of the fatalities occurred in Peru and 14 in Ecuador, where the authorities also reported that at least 446 people were injured and dozens of homes, schools and health centers were damaged.

The office of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso reported that 12 people were killed in the coastal province of El Oro and two in the highland state of Azuay.

It may also interest you: What do we know about the wave of earthquakes that affected Mexico, the US and New Zealand?

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