Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Death toll in Ecuador earthquake climbs to 480, survivors found

The death toll from Saturday's earthquake in northern Ecuador had risen to 480 by Tuesday morning, the government said.

About 4,027 people were injured and 231 more missing, Deputy Interior Minister Diego Fuentes was quoted by local daily El Telegrafo as saying.

A preliminary count showed that 20,503 people remained in shelters, while 805 buildings were completely destroyed and 608 more damaged, the report added.

The earthquake was centered around the northwestern province of Manabi, which has borne the brunt of the death toll. Pedernales, the most affected city, has registered 131 deaths so far, the provincial capital of Portoviejo has counted 115 and the tourist port of Manta has 112.

Some good news broke the gloom Tuesday as three people were found alive in the rubble of a building in Manta, according to Ecuador's firefighter chief.

Commander Ebber Arroyo told the press in the capital of Quito that the rescue took place early Tuesday after rescue workers had labored for hours to shift rubble from a residential building.

"We found three people alive, at around 4:30 am, and we are continuing to work to find people in the same condition," said Arroyo.

The survivors, two women and a man, were immediately taken to hospital for urgent medical care.

President Rafael Correa is to visit the town of Manta Tuesday, as well as the villages of Chone, San Vicente and Bahia de Caraquez.

Public services were progressively coming back in line in affected areas.

In a Twitter update Tuesday morning, Vice President Jorge Glas said power supply were restored in most of Manabi. A full evaluation of the province's infrastructure would be carried out once power is fully back online in the area.

Until Tuesday, much of the province had remained without energy, water and telecommunications.

Glas stressed that the priority remained to find victims and treat the injured.
 [Xinhua -]

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