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77 dead after magnitude 7.8 quake hits Ecuador

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QUITO — At least 77 people were killed and hundreds injured by the powerful 7.8 magnitude quake that struck the Pacific coastline late on Saturday, Ecuador’s VP said.

“As of now, the number of confirmed deaths reaches 77,” Jorge Glas said earlier today, in his latest earthquake update. He said more than 588 people are injured.

The tremor was felt across Ecuador and additionally in northern Peru and southern Colombia. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in Ecuador’s six worst-hit provinces.

“There is considerable (structural) damage in the area near the epicenter as well as points as far away as Guayaquil,” Ecuador’s Geophysical Office (IG) said.

Media published photographs of a bridge and the roof of a shopping center that collapsed in the port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city on the Pacific coast.

President Rafael Correa, on a visit to the Vatican, sent a message of support on Twitter.

“Authorities are already out evaluating damage and taking action” as needed,” he said.

Glas earlier said on Twitter that a national emergency committee had been activated.

With a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), the quake struck at 2358 GMT about 173 km west-northwest of Quito and just 28 kilometres south-southeast of Muisne, according to the US Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide.

“Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometres of the earthquake epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Buildings swayed in Quito but authorities did not immediately report injuries or damage.

The strong movement was felt in northern and southern parts of the Quito area, knocking out electricity in places.

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Cristina Duran, 45, grabbed her three pets and stood under a large doorway to avoid shards of glass falling from shattered windows.

“I was frightened. And I just kept asking for it to be over,” she told AFP.

AFP

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President summons the first Federal Parliament meeting for March 5

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KATHMANDU — President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has called for the first ever Federal Parliamentary meeting on March 5, 2018 at the International Conference Center, New Baneshwor.

President Bhandari has summoned the meeting as per Article 93 (1) of the constitution, a press release issued by the Office of the President said.

275 members, directly elected and those elected on basis of proportional representation system, constitute the Federal Parliament. House of Representatives and National Assembly jointly is called the federal parliamentary.

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The first federal parliament is being held after over two months since the House of Representative elections were held.

The election for the President is scheduled for March 9.

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