Deaths, damage and a blow to the state oil company: the ravages of the earthquake that shook Ecuador

Last Saturday, a large-scale earthquake occurred that, although on a smaller scale, was reminiscent of the earthquake that nearly seven years ago left 673 dead in the South American country.

At 12:11 noon on March 18, Ecuador was shaken again by a 6.5-magnitude earthquake, recorded at a depth of 44 kilometers and with an epicenter 29.12 kilometers from Balao, in the province of Guayas, in southwestern Ecuador, according to data from the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School (IGEPN).

The earthquake was felt in at least 13 of the country’s 24 provinces, but the hardest hit were El Oro, Azuay and Guayas.

According to the latest report from the Risk Management Secretariat, at least 13 people lost their lives; 14 fatalities had previously been reported, but later a correction was made to the figures.

Of that number, 12 of the deceased were registered in the province of El Oro; four of whom died from drowning because their homes were built in unsafe areas over the water, explained the entity’s governor, Fernando Apolo.

Another person lost his life in Cuenca, capital of the province of Azuay. This is John González, leader of the union of retail merchants, who was driving in his car on Sucre street, in the historic center of the city, when the earthquake occurred and the facade of a house fell on the car, causing his death. .

In addition to the dead, the Risk Management Secretariat reported that 461 people were injured after the earthquake.

Infrastructure damage

In its report, the government institution also details that 89 homes were completely destroyed and another 192 affected, 112 educational units and 40 health establishments damaged, 27 public and 34 private assets affected, as well as six bridges destroyed.

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In El Oro, the old and remodeled cabotage dock in the parish of Puerto Bolívar, belonging to the Machala canton, the entity’s capital, collapsed. A building that functioned as an on-site restaurant and a museum were submerged.

Throughout the province, at least 76 destroyed homes and 106 affected were reported. In Machala, particularly, the headquarters of the ECU 911 emergency service, the Prefecture, the Municipality, a coliseum, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Governor’s Office, among others, were affected.

In Cuenca, the capital of Azuay, there was damage to their traditional houses in the Historic Center, as well as to the Pumapungo museum, the New Cathedral, the Santo Domingo church and the Octavio Cordero Palacios Educational Unit.

For its part, in Guayas, at least 3 destroyed houses were reported in the Naranjal canton and another five that partially collapsed in Guayaquil. There were also damages to public institutions, universities, a stadium and a coliseum.


The state-owned Petroecuador reported Sunday night that due to the earthquake there was an electrical failure in the National Interconnected System (SNI) that damaged the Auca, Shushufindi, Indilana, Lago Agrio, Libertador and Palo Azul fields, located in the provinces of Sucumbíos. and Orellana.

This, explained the oil company, caused them to stop extracting around 17,400 barrels of oil per day.

The oil industry has also seen its production decrease, the state company added, due to “the strong winter storm with electrical storms”, as well as “failures in the pumping plants, theft of cables or sabotage”.

The government’s response

The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, personally led the national Emergency Operations Committee (COE) and traveled to the three provinces hardest hit by the quake.

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On Sunday night, Lasso announced on a national network that the entire country will be declared in a state of emergency.

He explained that the measure does not include rights restrictions, but its objective is to speed up procedures and disbursements to face the reparations.

Likewise, the president reported on the creation of a lease voucher for those affected by the earthquake. The measure includes acquiring houses already built by the private sector.

Other actions that Lasso announced were the management of emergency funds in multilateral organizations and processing the collection of insurance for public assets affected by the earthquake.

Source: RT News

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