The death toll from Ecuador's worst earthquake in decades has risen to 350 while traumatized survivors rest amid the rubble of their homes and rescuers dig for survivors in the Andean nation's shattered coastal region.
On Monday, the security ministry updated the number of people killed and said that at least 2,068 people were also injured in Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake, which ripped apart buildings and roads, as well as knocked out power.
About 130 inmates in the western city of Portoviejo took advantage of the destruction and chaos to climb over the collapsed walls of the low-security El Rodeo prison. More than 35 had been recaptured, authorities said Sunday night, adding that 13,500 security personnel have been mobilized to keep order.
"Reconstruction will cost billions of dollars," President Rafael Correa told Reuters, chatting with victims and appearing deeply moved as he toured the shattered Portoviejo. Some $600 million in credit from multilateral lenders was immediately activated for the emergency, the government said.
Domestic aid funds were being set up and Venezuela, Chile, and Mexico were sending personnel and supplies. The Ecuadorian Red Cross mobilized more than 800 volunteers and staff and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was sending a team from Colombia.
The 7.8 magnitude quake, also felt in neighboring Colombia, struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast on Saturday, and was felt across the Andean nation of 16 million people, causing panic in the capital Quito and collapsing buildings in the large commercial city of Guayaquil.
Northwestern coastal areas nearest the quake were worst affected. About 230 aftershocks have rattled survivors, who huddled in the streets, worried the tremors could topple their already cracked homes.
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck about 27km from Muisne in a sparsely populated area.
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