Sunday 11 December 2016

Ecuador earthquake death toll rises to 350

Published 19/04/2016 | 02:30

People search through debris in the coastal town of Pedernales in
Ecuador. Photo: Reuters
People search through debris in the coastal town of Pedernales in Ecuador. Photo: Reuters

Ecuador's earthquake death toll rose to 350 yesterday as traumatised survivors rested amid the rubble of their homes and rescuers dug for survivors in the Andean nation's shattered coastal region.

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More than 2,000 were also injured in Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake, which ripped apart buildings and roads and knocked out power along the Pacific coastline.

Giving the new tally of fatalities from Portoviejo town inside the disaster zone, President Rafael Correa said he feared the number would rise even further.

"Reconstruction will cost billions of dollars," he added.

Further north, in the beach locality of Pedernales, survivors curled up on mattresses or plastic chairs next to flattened homes. Soldiers and police patrolled the streets overnight while pockets of rescue workers ploughed on.

At one point, firefighters entered a partially destroyed house to search for three children and a man apparently trapped inside. "My little cousins are inside. Before, there were noises, screams. We must find them," pleaded Isaac (18) as the firefighters combed the debris.

Tents sprang up in the town's still-intact stadium to store bodies, treat the injured, and distribute water, food and blankets.

Irish Independent

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