Powerful 7.8 earthquake rocks Ecuador; toll rises to 77

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Quito, Apr 17: A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Ecuador on Sunday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported, with the tremor strongly felt in the capital Quito as a tsumani warning was also issued for local coasts. At least 77 people have been killed.

"Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. With a depth of 10 kilometres, the quake struck at 2358 GMT about 173 km west-northwest of Quito and just 28 kilometres south-southeast of Muisne, the USGS said. Buildings swayed in Quito but authorities did not immediately report injuries or damage. [Ecuador cancels football tournaments, shuts nightlife venues]

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In fact, two earthquakes jolted the same area just 11 minutes apart, the USGS said. The first measured 4.8 and the second 7.8.

The quake also rattled northern Peru, authorities there said. The major jolt came as rescuers in Japan were racing against the weather and the threat of more landslides to reach people still trapped by two big earthquakes that hit that country's south. At last 41 people are known to have died in the double disaster, with at least six still missing -- feared buried in shattered houses or under torrents of mud. 

AFP 

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