(CNN)A major earthquake hit Ecuador's central coast, killing at least 77 people as it buckled homes and knocked out power in a city hundreds of miles away, authorities said.
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Saturday night, Vice President Jorge Glas said in a televised address.
Nearly 600 people were injured, he said, adding that the death toll is expected to go up as more information comes in.
A state of emergency is in effect for six provinces, but Glas urged those who left their homes in coastal areas to return, as the tsunami alert had been lifted.
Provinces under a state of emergency are Guayas, Manabi, Santo Domingo, Los Rios, Esmeraldas and Galapagos.