A powerful magnitude 6.7 aftershock early yesterday rattled Ecuador near the Pacific coast area where a devastating earthquake hit a month ago, knocking out power and scaring still-traumatised residents as they slept but only limited damage was reported.
The US Geological Survey said that the quake’s epicentre was 35km from the town of Muisne. It struck before 3am local time and had a shallow depth of 32km below the earth’s surface.
President Rafael Correa said there was no tsunami alert and called on residents in Quito, where some residents poured into the streets, to return to their homes.
The quake was strong enough to trigger a national disaster alert, but Correa deactivated the emergency response a few hours later.
“These sort of aftershocks are normal but that doesn’t mean they’re not scary and can cause damage,” Correa said in a televised address, adding that aftershocks of this magnitude were normal for up to two months after a major quake like the one Ecuador experienced.
The president said that while some previously ravaged homes suffered more damage, most had already been evacuated and no buildings had collapsed.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 16 was Ecuador’s worst natural disaster in decades, killing 661 and leaving more than 28,000 people homeless.
It has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks, at least five of them of magnitude 6.0 or higher.
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