QUITO — The loss of life from the deadly earth quake in Ecuador has ascended to 272 however will rise further, President Rafael Correa said as he visited the debacle zone.
“Ecuador has been hit tremendously hard … This is the greatest tragedy in the last 67 years,” said a shaken Mr Correa, who rushed back to Ecuador from a visit to Italy.
“There are signs of life in much of the rubble and that is the priority,” he added in a televised address to the nation.
Rescuers were racing to dig out people trapped under the rubble of homes and businesses following the powerful magnitude-7.8 earthquake.
The quake reduced buildings to ruins, toppled power lines and sent terrified residents running from their homes when it struck the Pacific coast on Saturday in a zone popular with tourists.
Vice-President Jorge Glas called it the “worst seismic movement we have faced in decades”.
Officials quickly declared a state of emergency in the six worst-hit provinces.
The quake, felt across Ecuador, northern Peru and southern Colombia, struck at 6:58pm local time on Saturday, lasted for about a minute, and was centred approximately 170 kilometres north-west of the capital Quito.
No casualties were reported in Peru or Colombia.
Among the worst-hit towns was Pedernales, where about 40 hotels collapsed.
“Pedernales is devastated. Buildings have fallen down, especially hotels where there are lots of tourists staying. There are lots of dead bodies,” mayor Gabriel Alcivar told local media.
“We need help. We need medicine, water and food to help people.”
About 200 aftershocks of lesser intensity followed the quake.
“You could hear people screaming from the rubble,” Agustin Robles said as he waited in a line of 40 people for water outside a stadium in Pedernales.
“There was a pharmacy where people were stuck and we couldn’t do anything.”
Flood sweeps away bridge at Barhabise
CHUTARA — Flood and landslide triggered by the incessant rainfall have swept away a concrete bridge over a local Sandi stream at Barhabise bazaar last night.
It has resulted in disruption of vehicular movement, creating hassles to the people especially from Barhabise municipality and Bhotekoshi rural municipality, said Police Inspector at Area Police Office, Barhabise, Yadav Thapa.
Twenty-two houses of Barhabise bazaar area have been waterlogged after the settlement was flooded.
The Chinese government had constructed the 40-feet long bridge in 2024 BS. Mud and sands have piled up to five feet on the road sides.
Three excavators have been used to remove the landslide debris, added Thapa. Engineer at the Road Division Office, Charikot, said preparation was underway to install a bailey bridge there.Follow @gorkhapost