Thursday, May 23, 2024

Death Toll Rises in the Aftermath of Ecuador’s Earthquake


Search teams from Ecuador and neighboring countries spread out on the country’s Pacific coastline on Monday in search for those that are still missing. On Saturday, Ecuador faced its strongest earthquake in decades, of 7.8 magnitude, with the death toll rising over 400 people.

A group of about 50 rescuers working with sniffer dogs in the port city of Manta, were able to free eight people trapped for more than 32 hours in the rubble of a shopping center with the help of hydraulic jacks and a drill. Juan Carranza, a firefighter helping lead the rescue efforts in Portoviejo said, “Since Saturday, when this country started shaking, I’ve slept only two hours and haven’t stopped working.”

The rescues have been a silver lining during the grim aftermath of the natural disaster. A rescue was made at dawn when a woman was pulled headfirst from a hole cut through concrete and steel and in Portoviejo, a cellphone call to a relative from under the debris of a collapsed hotel led searchers to Pablo Cordova, the hotel’s administrator.

Lack of electricity in many areas is complicating the rescue efforts due to the noisy power generators that must be used. The noise makes it harder to hear anyone who might be trapped beneath rubble. Christian Rivera, the head of emergency services for the capital, Quito, stated that a person in good condition can survive up to a week under the rubble, “…after that, there’s a quick decline … and the rescuers’ work becomes very difficult,” he said.

Monday night the government reported that the official death count had increased to 413 and that they expected the number to rise in the coming days. Spain’s Red Cross said about 5,000 people might be in need temporary housing and around 100,000 will need some sort of aid. Around 13 the nationalities are involved in the rescue; a tweet from Foreign Minister Guillaume Long stated that 654 search experts from other nations were on the ground late Monday and that more were expected to arrive Tuesday.

FOX News Latino