Death toll rises to 602 as aftershocks continue in Ecuador

Death toll rises to 602 since Saturday’s earthquake, 700 aftershocks shake Ecudaor

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A rescue team member from Spain (C) and others rescuers search for victims at a collapsed store and buildings at the village of Manta, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, April 21, 2016.

The death toll from Ecuador's 7.8 magnitude earthquake rose to 602 on Friday.

The nation’s residents were scared by dozens of aftershocks rocking cities and towns, although there wasn’t any further damage.

Almost 12,500 people were injured and 130 others were missing after the devastating quake on Saturday, emergency management authorities said in a bulletin.

Survivors were shaken again late on Thursday night. An earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck off Ecuador's coast about 100 km north-northwest of Portoviejo and at a depth of 10 km.

People are pictured inside a tent at a temporary shelter in Pedernales, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, April 22, 2016. (Reuters)

"When it started to shake last night we started to pray," said Alex Bachon, 43, a construction worker repairing damage from Saturday's quake at a hotel in Guayaquil. "I have never seen anything like this, it's been so bad."

The country’s geology institute reported that, there were more than 70 aftershocks throughout Thursday night and Friday. There have been a total of 700 aftershocks since Saturday's quake.

The tremors will continue for several weeks, emergency management official Ricardo Penaherrera warned on Friday, and he called on Ecuadoreans to stay calm.

Survivors in the quake zone were receiving food, water and medicine from the government and scores of foreign aid workers.

Residents receive food from volunteers at the Reales Tamarindos airport which is used as a shelter, after being evacuated from their homes in Portoviejo, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, April 22, 2016. (Reuters)

President Rafael Correa said that bad roads had delayed aid to some communities.

With close to 7,000 buildings destroyed, more than 26,000 people were living in shelters.

Some 14,000 security personnel were keeping order in quake-hit area, with only sporadic looting reported.

The cost of the earthquake

The leftist government of Ecuador announced to temporarily increase some taxes, offer assets for sale and possibly issue bonds abroad to fund reconstruction.

The damage is estimated to be at $2 billion to $3 billion.

A raft of temporary tax increases should raise between $650 million and $1 billion, the government said, stressing those in quake areas would be exempt.

The 487 megawatt hydroelectric dam Sopladora, could be one of the assets put on sale.

Lower oil revenue has already left the country of 16 million people facing near-zero growth and lower investment.

The government invited travellers to fuel the $1.7 billion tourism industry, but warnings from health experts on the mosquito-borne viruses may hinder the tourism industry.


TRTWorld and agencies