Dozens killed in Ecuador after 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes

Tsunami warning was issued following the quake

Updated: 
Dozens Killed After Powerful Quake Strikes Ecuador

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has left at least 77 people dead and more than 500 injured.

The quake, which is the country's largest since 1979, hit the Pacific coast on Saturday evening.

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Severe damage was reported near the epicentre as well as Ecuador's biggest city of Guayaquil, with buildings flattened and roads damaged. In the capital Quito, power was knocked out.

A bridge in Guayaquil collapsed on top of a car, crushing it.

According to the Guardian, President Rafael Correa declared a national emergency but urged people to stay calm.

"Our infinite love to the families of the dead," he wrote on Twitter.

A tsunami warning was issued but later lifted.

In the town of Pedernales, near the epicentre, people are trapped in buildings and looting has broken out, Sky News reports.

Gabriel Alcivar, mayor of Pedernales, said: "We're trying to do the most we can but there's almost nothing we can do. This wasn't just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town."

Passengers at Guayaquil airport ran out of terminals when they felt the tremor.

Carla Peralto, a resident of Boyaca, a badly hit area, told the BBC: "I never felt something like that in my life. It was so strong. I was feeling very, very scared... I was thinking 'God, please stop that because maybe I die today'."

The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 19.2km, about 27km from the fishing area of Muisne, popular with tourists. It was followed by at least 36 aftershocks.