Ecuador’s earthquake death toll rose to 350 as traumatised survivors rested amid the rubble of their homes and rescuers dug for survivors in the Andean nation’s shattered coastal region.
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, Ecuador’s socialist president Rafael Correa said he feared the number would rise even further.
“Reconstruction will cost billions of dollars,” he said .
Mr Correa looked deeply moved as he chatted with victims during a tour of the shattered town in the South American Opec nation, which was already suffering from the global slump in crude oil prices.
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 hot, dark streets overnight while pockets of rescue workers plowed on.
At one point, firefighters entered a partially destroyed house to search for three children and a man apparently trapped inside, as a crowd of 40 gathered in the darkness to watch.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved