Powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes Ecuador

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 23, 2019, 2:02:59 AM EST

A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Ecuador during the early morning hours of Friday. Only minor injuries have been reported.

The earthquake occurred at 5:17 a.m. ECT/EST with the epicenter in the rural area located near the central border of Peru and Ecuador, according to the United States Geological Survey.

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That was followed by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that occurred less than 25 minutes later in western Ecuador, near the city of Guayaquil.

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Light to strong shaking was felt throughout the country with very strong shaking reported in a few communities in southern Ecuador and northern Peru.

Showers and thunderstorms can occur daily across Ecuador through this weekend, potentially hindering and disrupting any rescue or recovery efforts in the wake of the earthquakes.

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There has been no immediate word of fatalities, and Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno stated that preliminary reports do not indicate major damage occurred.

Six people were injured in Gualaquiza, Macas and Cuenca, according to a press release from the National Risk and Emergency Management Service of Ecuador.

Six houses were affected, along with two health centers in Guayaquil and Gualaquiza.

As a precaution, the airport and tunnels of Guayaquil were closed but have since reopened.

Power outages were also reported in Chone, Portoviejo and Sucre. Power has since been restored.

Regional emergency centers had been activated in the event they are needed, National Public Radio stated.

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