Ecuador Residents Rattled By Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake, Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Aftershock Reported Hours Later

Ecuador, the South American country that is still reeling from the effects of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit the nation in April, has been hit by another earthquake, ABC News reports. The fresh earthquake hit the country in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and was measured at 6.7 on the Richter scale, confirms USGS.

According to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, preliminary reports do not point towards major casualties or damage to structures. He did however say that the earthquake could have caused small material damage to weaker structures.

The epicenter of this new magnitude 6.7 quake was located 21 miles from the town of Muisne. There were initial fears of a tsunami that could have been generated by the powerful quake. However, no tsunami alert was issued. The effects of the earthquake were felt several miles away in the Ecuadorian capital city of Quito, where residents were woken up from their slumber and forced to evacuate their buildings and walk onto nearby streets.

It was on April 16, earlier this year that Ecuador was hit by a much larger, magnitude 7.8 earthquake that left more than 660 people dead and tens of thousands of people injured and homeless. Following the major earthquake, there were a number of smaller aftershocks that continued to rattle the region — some even as powerful as magnitude 6.6 on the Richter scale.

The major earthquake in April crippled Ecuador’s economy, which was not in great shape even before the tragedy hit the country. In a move to expedite rebuilding of the country, President Correa took the unpopular decision of hiking taxes on the country’s people. Experts however say that it could take years for Ecuador to completely rebuild the towns, cities, and infrastructure left crippled following the April 2016 earthquake.

Ecuador earthquake
A police officer walks amid the rubble, days after an earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

The April earthquake was followed by the declaration of a state of emergency in six provinces of Ecuador. These included the provinces of Manabi, Guayas, Santo Domingo, Galapagos, Los Rios, and Esmeraldas. As per an earlier report on The Inquisitr, most of the earthquake deaths were reported from the province of Manabi – which also happens to be the country’s third most populous province.

Update: The initial magnitude 6.7 earthquake was followed by another tremor that was slightly more powerful. This aftershock measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, confirms The New York Times. The U.S Geological Survey confirmed the second quake and tweeted about it as well.

The report added that the first earthquake had knocked off power lines and several cities had plunged into darkness. People were seen huddling in open spaces and streets afraid to go back into their homes. The second earthquake was reported in the noon and was centered near the small coastal town of Mompiche. Again, there have been no reports of casualties or severe damage after the second earthquake. President Rafael Correa who tweeted about the first earthquake also addressed the nation on national television in which he said;

“These sort of aftershocks are normal, but that doesn’t mean they’re not scary, and [they] can cause damage.”

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has confirmed that there is no threat of a tsunami following the second earthquake.