Two strong aftershocks hit the coastal region of Ecuador, less than three months after a devastating 7.8 earthquake shook the Andean nation, the country’s Geological Institute said Sunday night.
“Two strong aftershocks with an epicenter in Muisne. All keep calm. A hug to all in Esmeraldas,” Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on his official Twitter account. He added that there was no tsunami alert.
Correa later spoke via telephone with the state-owned broadcaster and said that Monday's classes in the coastal provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabi were suspended so that buildings could be inspected.
“I just finished talking to the governor of Esmeraldas, with secretary for risk management, etc., but so far we have no reports of property damage or personal injury, and the latter is what concerns us most,” said Correa, who added that he would travel to the coast on Monday.
Elizabeth Araniva, who is on the Ecuadorean coast working with an international aid agency in the aftermath of the April 16 quake, told teleSUR that the shocks “were very long” and “very strong."
She added that people left their buildings and stood outside as they heard sirens in the town go off.
After other quakes, people have chosen to spend the night outside their homes out of fear of further aftershocks. Officers from the National Police are conducting patrols throughout the affected areas in order to assure residents' safety.
A few parts of the province of Esmeraldas were without electricity.
Officials from Ecuador's Geophysical Insitute confirmed that these latest seimic events are considered aftershocks stemming from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 16.
That was Ecuador's worst quake in nearly seven decades, claiming almost 700 lives and leading to approximately 12,000 injuries, with over 24,000 buildings and homes damaged.
It caused damages well over US$2 billion. In Quito, the capital of Ecuador, the tremor was felt with intensity as buildings, utility poles and traffic lights swaying, causing alarm among the city's residents.
The last major aftershocks took place in May and killed at least one person in the northern area of Ecuador.