6.0-magnitude quake hits coastal Ecuador, damaging houses, hospitals

QUITO, March 27 (Xinhua) -- A 6.0-magnitude earthquake on Saturday hit the coastal province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador, damaging residences, hospitals, and public buildings, authorities said on Sunday.

The earthquake occurred at 11:28 p.m. local time on Saturday (0428 GMT Sunday) at a depth of 10 km and 11.79 km from the city of Esmeraldas, with several aftershocks occurring, according to Ecuador's Geophysical Institute.

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According to initial evaluations, at least 28 homes were damaged and two destroyed, while three health centers and three public buildings were also affected, the National Risk and Emergency Management Service said.

The quake was felt in 11 of the 24 provinces of Ecuador and triggered a power outage in the city of Esmeraldas.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said on Twitter that in the face of the strong earthquake, the Esmeraldas Emergency Operations Committee had been activated to coordinate actions to care for the affected population.