TORONTO — A deadly earthquake decimated Ecuador’s coast over the weekend, killing at least 272 people and injuring over 2,500.
A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck off the Pacific coast on Saturday night, flattening buildings and buckling roads in several western towns, reports Al Jazeera. Coastal areas nearest the quake suffered the most damage, in particular the town of Pedernales, where approximately 40 hotels have been reduced to rubble.
In the Manabi Province alone, 200 people have been killed, according to Ricardo Peñaherrera of Ecuador’s national emergency management office.
CNN reports that all six coastal provinces – Guayas, Manabi, Santo Domingo, Los Rios, Esmeraldas and Galapagos – are in state of emergencies.
Vice President Jorge Glas announced that the country has already deployed 10,000 armed forces, in addition to 4,600 national police who were sent to towns near the epicenter.
In Guayaquil, the country’s most populous city and the country’s principle sea port, rubble lay in the streets and a bridge fell on top of a car, reports Al Jazeera.
Elsewhere, the Ministry of Tourism reports that the tourism infrastructure located in areas not significantly affected by the earthquake, such as the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos, including all airports, accommodations, tour operation and ground transport remain open and fully operational.
The airport in Quito, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, is operating normally after the Crisis Coordination Committee of Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport conducted an assessment of the infrastructure, giving it a clean bill of health. Flights are operating normally out of Quito, but other airports may be experiencing suspensions and delays. The Twitter account @AeropuertoUIO is continuously updated.
The city of Quito remains safe, with public services like water, power, telephone service, internet service and public transportation functioning normally. In a purely precautionary and preventative measure, the mayor of Quito has ordered that all public events and venues, including movie theatres, entertainment centres and dance clubs, be suspended for the next 72 hours. Tourist venues located mainly in La Mariscal and the Historical District are functioning on a partial basis as a result of the State of Emergency, while some museums and tourist sites in Quito’s urban area will not be open.
G Adventures, a major operator to the Galapagos, reports that all operations of its Galapagos trips, both land tours and cruises, were not affected by the earthquake and that all of its travellers are safe and accounted for.