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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.

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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1 killed, 2 injured in Dhading truck mishap

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DHADING — One person was killed while two other seriously injured when a truck fell from Hugdi Khola Bridge in Rorang-10, Benighat along the Prithvi Highway on Wednesday.

The truck (Na 5 Kha 1568) en-route to Chitwan from Kathmandu fell off the bridge to Hugdi Khola (river) on Wednesday afternoon.

The deceased has been identified as 23-year-old Sher Bahadur Magar,23, of Madhya Bindu Municipality-10, according to police. Magar died on the course of treatment at a Malekhu-based hospital, informed Area Police Office, Gajuri.

Those injured in the incident are Manoj Ale 25, of Arunkhola, Nawalparasi and Megh Bahadur Gharti of Sitakganga Municipality in Arghakhanchi district have been sent to Kathmandu for further medical treatment.

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