At least 12 people are dead after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Ecuador on Saturday, President Guillermo Lasso said.
Gatekeepers News reports that officials say the earthquake occurred around 12:22 p.m. local time. A 4.8-magnitude earthquake was also reported around 12:28 p.m.
The earthquake was felt in 13 provinces in the South American country, with Guayas, El Oro, Azuay and Chimborazo most affected, authorities said.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing, particularly in the city of Machala in El Oro Province and officials say the number of fatalities could rise amid efforts to find those trapped under rubble.
Eleven people were confirmed dead in El Oro Province and a 12th person died in Azuay Province.
Several residences, including ones along the coast, were reported to have collapsed.
Ecuadorian authorities activated a national operation committee to support those in need.
The strong earthquake activity was also felt in northern Peru although no deaths have been reported there.