'Light injuries' after two earthquakes hit Ecuador

  • 19/05/2016
People gather on the streets minutes after a tremor was felt in Quito, Ecuador (Reuters)
People gather on the streets minutes after a tremor was felt in Quito, Ecuador (Reuters)

Two earthquakes have struck Ecuador's coast, leading to one death and light damage in the same region where a magnitude-7.8 tremor killed more than 650 people last month.

Wednesday's tremors, measuring 6.7 and 6.8 in magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey, cut electricity in some coastal areas and sent people running into the streets as far away as the highland capital of Quito, witnesses said.

President Rafael Correa said the epicentre of the first was the fishing village of Mompiche on the Pacific coast, about 368km from Quito.

He said people were lightly injured as they bumped into the things as they ran out of buildings, adding that one person died in circumstances that were still not clear.

"We lament the death, which was caused either directly or indirectly by the earthquake, of a senior citizen in the city of Tosagua," he said, referring to a city in the coastal province of Manabi.

According to one version, the person hit their head on concrete, while a second report said a beam fell on their head.

School was cancelled until Monday in Manabi and in the province of Esmeraldas, Correa said.

The tremors caused minor damage, mainly to infrastructure already hit by the April disaster. There was no tsunami warning.

The second tremor struck just before midday, according to the US Geological survey.

The April 16 earthquake, Ecuador's worst in decades, flattened buildings along the coast.

As well as the deaths, the tremor also injured more than 6000 people, made nearly 29,000 homeless, and caused an estimated $US2 billion (NZ$2.9 billion) in damage, according to the government's latest tally.