By Ariana Braccia,
International News Writer
At least 570 people have died due to Ecuador’s, April 16 earthquake. Ecuador officials have announced 570 confirmed dead but rescue and discovery efforts are still underway. The earthquake came in at a 7.8 magnitude, according to Ecuador’s Risk Management Office. With the death toll continuing to rise, this is the worst disaster that the country has seen in decades with 155 still missing, 7,015 injured and almost 25,000 people in shelters.
Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, has said the priority is to rescue people in the rubble and that everything else can be rebuilt, NBC News reported. He cut short his trip to Italy to return to Educator, which has been in a state of emergency since the earthquake. Other officials have spoken about ongoing rescue efforts in the country, with Defense Minister, Ricardo Patino, saying, “We’re facing the most difficult phase right now, which is rescuing and recovering bodies,” as reported by CNN.
The U.S. State Department said there were no reports of U.S. citizens killed in the quake. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said two Canadians were killed.
Coastal areas in the north-west were closest to the epicenter. There have been about 230 aftershocks across the country. BBC News reported.
The quake had a depth of nearly 12 miles and some of the aftershocks were as strong as magnitude 5.6, the New York Times reported. The quake was strongly felt in country’s capital, Quito, which is approximately 100 miles from the epicenter. States of emergency were declared for the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo, NBC News reported.
The government has set up shelters for nearly 25,000 people in soccer stadiums and airports. The military is continuing to bring supplies into major towns, while poor road conditions have impeded aid reaching more remote areas, The Guardian reported.
President Correa has announced many power outages throughout the country, which have also impeding aide efforts.
About 4,600 members of the national Police and 10,400 members of the armed forces were mobilized as a part of the emergency response.
Hundreds of doctors, health professionals and rescue workers were heading toward the hardest hit areas. More than 1,200 Red Cross volunteers were also helping to render first aid and search for missing people, BBC News reported.
The Guardian reported that President Correa said the death toll would have been lower if construction regulations were made stronger after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed more than 300,000 people.
President Correa has also said that the earthquake would cost the country billions of dollars.
BBC News also reported that the oil-producing country is already reeling from the slump in global crude prices. ABC News reported that oil prices are near a decade low.
The lower oil revenue has left the country of 16 million people facing near-zero growth and lower investment, The Guardian reported.
The earthquake was also felt in neighboring country Columbia.
Scientists say there is no connection between the Equator earthquake and the quake in Japan that took place on the same day, BBC News reported based on the US Geological Survey.
Geologist said the force of the earthquake in Ecuador was 20 times greater than the one in Japan, The New York Times reported. The New York Times also reported, Ecuador has a history of destructive earthquakes but this most recent one was believed to be the most powerful since 1970s.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.
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