QUITO – The death toll from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit northern Ecuador has risen to 235, with 1,557 people injured, Vice President Jorge Glas said on Sunday.
There is no tsunami warning in effect and the region’s dams are in good condition, Glas said in a press conference after touring the area affected by the temblor.
A total of 189 aftershocks have occurred since the earthquake hit at 6:58 p.m. on Saturday between the coastal resorts of Cojimies and Pedernales in Manabi province, the vice president said.
The government declared a state of emergency in Esmeraldas, Manabi, Guayas, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Los Rios and Santa Elena provinces.
Glas thanked donor countries for the aid they are providing and called on residents to stay out of the areas damaged by the earthquake.
Rescue operations and providing assistance to victims is the government’s priority, the vice president said.
“Later, with much strength and strong unity, the reconstruction will come,” Glas said.
The vice president described the earthquake damage in some Pacific coastal areas as “catastrophic.”
“It’s a tragedy we’re dealing with, (and) more public forces, food, water and security are coming. We’re trying to restore electric service in certain parts of the city. We’re dealing with a catastrophic situation in some parts of Portoviejo, in some parts of Manta,” Glas told Teleamazonas.
President Rafael Correa is returning home from Europe, where he participated in a forum marking the publication of the late Pope John Paul II’s “Centesimus Annus” encyclical.
Correa is expected to arrive Sunday afternoon in Manta, one of the worst-hit area.