Saturday night Ecuador was hit with a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The death toll from the massive quake has climbed to 233, President Rafel Correa announced Sunday. The strongest earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades also injured at least 588, government officials said, although the numbers could go higher.
Ecuador’s Risk Management Agency said 10,000 armed forces were deployed to the coastal areas hit hardest. The armed forces are headed to the six provinces where a state of emergency remains in place: Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, Santo Domingo and Los Ríos, according to the agency. About 3,500 national police officers were sent to Manabí, Esmeraldas, Guayas y Santa Elena. Three-hundred extra firemen were sent to Manabí.
In Cuenca there was very little damage despite the strength of the tremors. Currently underway all over Cuenca are many relief efforts to assist the epicentre on the coast. Hearts of Gold, a local foundation started by expats, is coordinating efforts with their program partner Mikuna Foodbank to collect food, light (summer) clothing, water and toiletries that will be sent to the coast. If you would like to donate click here. Non- perishable canned food donations, clothing, water and toiletries can be dropped off at the Hearts of Gold / Gringo Tree office, Mikhuna Centro de Alimentos (in front of the big church at the top of Turi) and at Desarro Social Office (Pres. Borrero between Sucre and Pres. Cordova as well as other locations around the city including Parque Calderon.
Several aftershocks followed the first quake, ranging in magnitude from 2.6 to 6, according to a statement from the agency, citing the National Polytechnic Institute’s Geological Institute.
Rescue workers and locals are working overnight to pull out survivors from buildings that have collapsed. Photographs from AFP show rescue workers looking for survivors in Manta, a coastal city in the Manabi province.
The U.S. Geological Survey traced the epicenter to a location about 17 south-southwest of the fishing village Muisne. The quake caused destruction as far as 300 miles south of there, in the port city of Guayaquil. There an overpass collapsed over a car, killing the driver and seriously injuring the passenger, according to the Colombian broadcaster Noticias Caracol. Several other buildings were damaged, and the roof of a shopping center in Guayaquil collapsed.
Some Information is taken from USA Today