The death toll of Saturday’s Ecuador earthquake rose to 272 while many still remained trapped and hundreds more were injured.  After the 7.8 magnitude earthquake toppled buildings and tore apart towns just before 7pm on Saturday, the country was in a state of emergency Sunday.   

The coastal city of Manta was hit hard and is in a state of ruin as 2,500 people were injured while at least 370 buildings were completely destroyed and 26 schools and 151 more buildings were also damaged.  The earthquake reportedly was the strongest to hit Ecuador since 1979 and was strongly felt in Quito, the country’s capital.  Some areas in the main area of the quake lost power and many buildings and poles residents are being warned to stay away from as they may collapse.

Ecuadorian officials have reported that 10,000 military troops and over 3,000 police officers were immediately dispatched in the rescue efforts that now are being funded by $6 million in credit while another 4,000 officers were sent in to help via 80 buses and five helicopters.  Sunday night the government was calling upon another 2,000 officers to help provide security in the affected region.  

Over 1,200 Red Cross volunteers were helping to provide first aid assistance as well to help in the search for missing people of which there is a large and unspecified number of.

A 4.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded half an hour before the 7.8 quake, meanwhile at least 135 aftershocks occurred, one recorded as strong as a 6 and authorities urged residents to be prepared for stronger ones in the coming days and hours. 

The Ecuador quake is the second major occurrence of Earthquake activity in a week, 41 people were killed in a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in southwest Japan just days ago.

Published by Ville Iso-Ahola