The US has become the latest country to send a team of disaster experts to help Ecuador following Saturday’s earthquake.
In the meantime, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has been offering comfort to survivors. At least about 500 people are believed to have died with the number expected to rise significantly, Euronews reports.
“We should feel proud of our rescuers, also for our Latin American brothers who have helped us: Venezuelans, Colombians, many other countries. I insist, the priority is where there are signs of life. There are some neighbours who have complained that there is a body and why is it not taken. That’s because the priority is to target resources to where there are stills signs of life,” he said
Reuters reports that the country is faced with the grim reality of recovering more bodies than survivors as rescue efforts have moved into the third day and the death toll climbed to over 400.
Desperate family members have urgently entreated rescue teams to find their missing loved ones as they dug through the debris of flattened homes, hotels and stores in the hardest-hit pacific coastal region.
Interior Minister Jose Serrano said as of Tuesday, rescue efforts would become more of a search for corpses. The death toll stood at 413, but is expected to rise. > Death Toll Rises in Ecuador Quake, Recovery to Cost Billions https://t.co/VGw8oJueDA pic.twitter.com/xl1JskYehL
— Voice of America (@VOANews) April 19, 2016
The quake has injured at least 2,600 people, damaged over 1,500 buildings, and left 18,000 people spending the night in shelters, according to the leftist government.
Visiting the disaster zone on Monday, a moved President Rafael Correa said rebuilding would cost billions of dollars and may inflict a “huge” economic toll on the OPEC nation of 16 million people.