A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador’s central coast on Saturday night, collapsing homes and roadways and killing at least 77 people accordng to reports at this time. The death toll is likely to rise as reports continue to come in.

Ecuador’s government has declared a state of emergency in six states and told residents to leave coastal areas in case of rising tides following the quake. It was the largest and most monumental earthquake to hit the country since 1979.

 Among those killed was the driver of a car crushed by an overpass that buckled in Guayaquil, the country’s city that has the largest population. In Manta, the airport was closed after the control tower collapsed, injuring an air force official. Hydroelectric dams and oil pipelines in the OPEC-member nation were shut down as a precautionary measure.

President Rafael Correa, who is in Rome after attending a Vatican conference, called on Ecuadoreans to show strength while authorities monitor events.  Here is a video report of the earthquake:

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous tsunami waves are possible for some coasts.

The quake comes after two deadly earthquakes across the Pacific. A magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck Thursday near Kumamoto, followed by a magnitude-7.3 earthquake just 28 hours later. The quakes have killed 41 people and injured about 1,500, flattened houses and triggered major landslides.

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