The number of people killed in a powerful earthquake that struck Ecuador over the weekend has risen to about 350, with more than 2, 500 others injured in the country’s most powerful earthquake in the last four decades.
It was gathered that the earthquake struck shortly after night fell on Saturday near Muisne, in a sparsely populated area of mostly small ports and tourist villages about 100 miles from the capital, Quito.
Rescue crews searched desperately through rubble for survivors of a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck coastal Ecuador during the weekend leaving houses upended or reduced to rubble.
Authorities have warned that the official death toll after the 7.8-magnitude quake was likely to rise, with many people still trapped and rescue efforts in the remote region at the epicentre of the quake hampered by landslides.
A state of emergency has been declared and some 10,000 troops and 3,500 police have been deployed in the affected areas, in a race to help residents.
“The first hours are crucial,” Correa said. “We’re finding signs of life in the rubble. We’re giving this priority. After, we’ll work to find and recover bodies.”
People looking for family and friends frantically dug with their hands and tools until excavation equipment arrived.
BBC also reported that more than 600 people have been treated for injuries at tents in the town’s football stadium, with many others taken by ambulance or helicopter to regional hospitals. The stadium also served as a makeshift morgue, Reuters reported, with at least 90 bodies taken there.
Many residents of the town are due to spend Monday night sleeping outside on mattresses in muggy and tropical conditions and afraid of more aftershocks.