Ecuador Death Toll Rises Above 650 One Week After Quake
The death toll from Ecuador’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake last week has risen to 654 people, the country’s emergency management authority said.
Last Saturday’s quake was the worst in nearly seven decades.
More than 16,600 people were injured, 113 people were rescued from damaged buildings and 58 people are still missing.
“These have been sad days for the homeland,” President Rafael Correa said during his weekly television broadcast. The country is in crisis.”
Several strong tremors and more than 700 aftershocks have continued to shake the country since the major quake, sparking momentary panic but little additional damage.
Tremors are expected to continue for several weeks.
With close to 7,000 buildings destroyed, more than 25,000 people are living in shelters.
About 14,000 security personnel are keeping order in quake-hit areas.
Survivors in the quake zone were receiving food, water and medicine from the government and scores of foreign aid workers.
However, President Correa has acknowledged that bad roads have delayed aid reaching some communities.
His government is facing mammoth rebuilding at a time of greatly reduced oil revenues for the OPEC country.
Mr Correa said Ecuador would temporarily increase some taxes, offer assets for sale and possibly issue bonds abroad to fund reconstruction.
He has estimated damage at $2 billion to $3 billion.
The country’s private banking association has said its member banks would defer payments on credit cards, loans and mortgages for clients in the quake zone for three months, to help reconstruction efforts.
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