Death Toll Rises as Rescue Efforts Continue
When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the South American nation of Ecuador, 272 were left dead and at least 2,500 people injured. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue efforts are underway. Rescue crews are intensified efforts to search survivors and bodies through rubble and collapsed buildings.
The government announced a state of emergency among six coastal provinces – Esmeraldas, Manabi, Galapagos, Santo Domingo, Guayas and Los Rios.
To save more lives and improve response to the needs of the victims, the Ecuadorian authorities deployed 10,000 soldiers and 4,600 police officers to the affected areas.
To cater to the medical needs of the victims, Colombian armed forces built mobile hospitals in Portoviejo and Pedernales. Temporary shelters were also provided to the victims and their families.
In addition, K9 units were deployed to aid in the search for more survivors and bodies.
Deadliest Ecuador Earthquake
Considered the deadliest earthquake to hit the nation since March 1987 when a 7.2-magnitude quake killed 1,000 people, the deadly quake left a trail of massive devastation.
The tremors rattled Manabi Porovince where about 200 people died. The earthquake badly hit tourist destinations including the cities of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales which were badly damaged by the calamity.
The aftermath is unimaginable and it left shoppers in shock when some malls partially collapsed. Drivers were also trapped when overpasses collapsed.
The calamity left the residents off guard when it occurred at 7p.m. when people were doing their usual evening errands.
U.S. Geological Survey reports the tremor was centered 27 kilometers (16.8 miles) southeast of the coastal town of Muisne.
US Ready to Extend Help to Colombia
The United States of America showed its willingness to help Colombia tackle the aftermath of the calamity by pledging readiness to assist the South American nation.
In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States was “ready to assist in any way we can.”
Secretary Kerry also expressed his deepest condolences for the tragic loss of life resulting from the earthquake in Ecuador.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.” – Secretary Kerry