QUITO, April 17 - At least 77 people were killed when a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and sending terrified residents dashing from their homes, authorities said.
�Oh, my God, it was the biggest and strongest earthquake I have felt in my whole life. It lasted a long time, and I was feeling dizzy,� said Maria Torres, 60, in the capital Quito, where people fled their homes during yesterday evening�s quake.
Vice President Jorge Glas said the death toll will likely rise further in what he called the �worst seismic movement we have faced in decades.�
He said that a state of emergency was declared in the six worst-hit provinces of the country where police, military and emergency services �are in a state of maximum alert to protect the lives of citizens.� � AFP