The catastrophic earthquake that destroyed buildings in Ecuador on Saturday became far more devastating Sunday, when the death toll rose to 233 — and it’s expected to rise.
Another 1,500 people were injured, said Ricardo Peñaherrera of Ecuador’s national emergency management office.
“It was the worst experience of my life,” survivor Jose Meregildo said Sunday about the tremors that violently shook his house in Guayaquil, 300 miles away from the quake’s epicenter.
“Everybody in my neighborhood was screaming saying it was going to be the end of the world. Residents remain on the streets for fear of aftershocks in Pedernales on April 17.
People make their way through debris from a collapsed building in Pedernales on Sunday, April 17. A magnitude-7.8 quake struck off Ecuador’s central coast on Saturday, April 16, flattening buildings and buckling highways. It’s the deadliest quake to strike the South
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Saturday night as it buckled homes and knocked out power in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city, authorities said. Emergency officials recovered one body from the scene of a bridge collapse there.
“Many highways are in bad shape, especially in the mountainous area because it has been raining recently due to (the) El Niño weather phenomenon.”
Vice President Jorge Glas had said earlier the death toll is expected to rise.
A state of emergency is in effect for six provinces — Guayas, Manabi, Santo Domingo, Los Rios, Esmeraldas and Galapagos. Authorities urged those who left their homes in coastal areas to return after a tsunami alert was lifted.
During his Sunday prayer, Pope Francis asked for those present to pray for the people affected by the earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan.
“Last night a violent earthquake hit Ecuador, causing numerous victims and great damages,” Francis said. “Let’s pray for those populations, and for those of Japan, where as well there has been some earthquakes in the last days. The help of God and of the brothers give them strength and support.”
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