including those in Japan
could be about to strike after seven earthquakes
in just 96 hours struck the Pacific region,
killing hundreds of people.
At least 413 people have been killed in Ecuador's biggest earthquake in decades as a 7.8 magnitude quake struck off the Pacific coast on Saturday and was felt around the Andean nation of 16 million people, causing panic as far away as the highland capital Quito.
Vice President Jorge Glas said as well as leaving hundreds dead, more than 2,500 people were injured.
The latest quake follows devastating tremors in Japan late last week when one, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, injured more than 1,000 trapping people in collapsed buildings only a day after a quake killed nine people in the same region.
Rescue crews searched for survivors of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Japan's Kyushu Island, the same region rattled by a 6.2 quake two days earlier.
Around 20,000 troops have had to be deployed following the latest 7.3 earthquake at 1.25am local time on Saturday.
Roads have also been damaged and big landslides have been reported, there are also 200,000 households without power. The death toll in the latest Kyushu earthquake is 16 people and a previous earthquake that struck the area on Thursday had killed nine people.
There have been other large earthquakes recorded in recent days, including a major one in southern Japan which destroyed buildings and left at least 45 people injured, after Myanmar was rocked on Wednesday.
Tremors were also felt as far as 500 miles away at the national park in India.
Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 7,262 people have sought shelter at 375 centers since Friday in Kumamoto Prefecture. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to do everything he could to save lives following the disaster.
On Thursday, the Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Hospital confirmed 45 were injured, including five with serious injuries after a quake of magnitude 6.2 to 6.5 and a series of strong aftershocks ripped through Kumamoto city.
Several buildings were damaged or destroyed and at least six people are believed to be trapped under homes in Mashiki.
Local reports said one woman was rescued in a critical condition
Scientists say there has been an above average number of significant earthquakes across south Asia and the Pacific since the start of the year.
The increased frequency has sparked fears of a repeat of the Nepal quake of 2015, where 8,000 people died, or even worse. Tonga suffered a 6.1 magnitude tremor.
Thursday's quake in Japan was followed by a 5.9-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of the southern Philippines. The earthquake happened at 2.20am (Singapore time) off Mindanao island.
Local authorities said there was no tsunami risk and that they had not received reports of casualties or damage.
In Japan, a number of buildings were destroyed by the powerful 6.4 magnitude quake. Japan's Meteorological Agency said the epicenter was in the Mashiki town in the Kumamoto prefecture.
Officials said the region's nuclear facilities were not affected.
A 6.0 magnitude earthquake also hit on Friday off the coast of the Pacific island of Vanuatu, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
It was 53 miles from town Port Orly and the fourth one this week in the immediate area, after a 6.4-strength tremor hit a week earlier.
Seismologists say the Himalayan region is overdue for a tremor stronger than Nepal's 7.9 strength quake last year. Friday's quakes take the total to nine across Asia in a period of just over three and a half months - nearly three every month.
Just six days ago, on April 10, six people died in Pakistan when a 6.6-magnitude quake hit Kabul with aftershocks in India.
Two days before, on April 8, there was a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in Nepal. Nepal had suffered a larger 5.5 magnitude one on February 22.
A month before, on January 20, there was a 6.1-magnitude earthquake in China, and 16 days earlier 11 people died when a 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit Manipur in India.
earthquake: Search for survivors continue
while rescue operation continues on April 16, 2016
in Minamiaso, Kumamoto
India's disaster management experts from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in January an 8.2 magnitude quake was due in the already ruptured Himalayan region.
The 2011 Sikkim earthquake created more ruptures in the Himalayas, on top of those caused by previous quakes, and scientists have feared the area is continually weakening with each new quake.
India's National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) says stress in the mountains of the north-east and the colliding of the Himalayan plate and the Indo-Burmese plate in the to the puts the whole region on red alert.
Tectonic plates west of the Nepal earthquake are still locked and scientists fear this is another trigger waiting to go off.
A scientific study (Lower Edge of Locked Main Himalayan Thrust Unzipped by the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake) published in Nature Geoscience said the Nepal quake,
Stresses locked in this area could be released, potentially causing a massive quake.
BK Rastogi, director general of the Ahmedabad-based Institute of Seismological Research, said:
This article was amended on 22 April 2016.
The article originally contained a quote attributed to Dr Roger Bilham that in regards to the Manipur earthquake of 04 January 2016 he stated,
This quote was sourced from an article published by the Times of India on 06 January 2016 and headlined 'Big earthquake coming, warn MHA experts'. In fact Dr Bilham states that he never gave that quote to the Times of India.
We are happy to set the record straight.