7.8-Magnitude Quake Jolts Ecuador; Ton Dead; Buildings, Bridge Collapsed

About 80 people have been killed and more than 600 injured after a powerful quake of 7.8-magnitude hit Ecuador’s coast Saturday evening at 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET).

The epicenter of the quake was 16 miles south-southeast of the coastal town of Muisne. It was shallow, about 12 miles deep.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa declared a national emergency while being on a trip to Italy. He tweeted cutting short the tour to return home. He wrote, “Our infinite love to the families of the dead.”

Correa also called it as the strongest earthquake in the country since 1979.

The Geophysics Institute of the country said the quake has caused considerable damage in the epicenter area and also in Guayaquil.

The quake was felt as far as the capital city Quito, around 100 miles away from the epicenter.

A 36-year-old telecom worker in the capital, Lorena Cazares, said she was watching television and suddenly everything started shaking.

An overpass collapsed in Guayaquil crushing a car and killing one person.

Video footage on social sites show a shopping mall in Portoviejo has been damaged and people crowded outside it on the street. A hotel in Manta too was seen partially collapsed.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there is no threat of tsunami. However, people on the coasts are urged to seek higher ground as a precaution.

Within two hours of the main quake three more jolting were felt between 5.4 and 4.8 magnitudes.

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