New af­ter­shocks jolt Ecuador af­ter mas­sive quake, death toll over 664

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Quito: The death toll from Ecuador’s dev­as­tat­ing 7.8 mag­ni­tude earth­quake last week has risen to 646 peo­ple, Pres­i­dent Rafael Cor­rea said dur­ing a TV broad­cast on Satur­day. The quake, the worst in nearly seven decades, in­jured around 12,500 peo­ple and left 130 miss­ing along the country’s rav­aged Pa­cific coast. “Th­ese have been sad days for the homeland,” a vis­i­bly moved Cor­rea said dur­ing his reg­u­lar Satur­day tele­vi­sion broad­cast. “The country is in cri­sis.” Sev­eral strong tremors and more than 700 af­ter­shocks have con­tin­ued to shake the country since the ma­jor quake, spark­ing mo­men­tary panic, but lit­tle ad­di­tional dam­age. Tremors are ex­pected to con­tinue for sev­eral weeks. With close to 7000 build­ings de­stroyed, more than 26,000 peo­ple were liv­ing in shel­ters. Some 14,000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel were keep­ing or­der in quake-hit ar­eas, with only spo­radic loot­ing re­ported. Sur­vivors in the quake zone were re­ceiv­ing food, wa­ter and medicine from the govern­ment and scores of for­eign aid work­ers, though Cor­rea has ac­knowl­edged that bad roads de­layed aid reach­ing some com­mu­ni­ties.

Photo: AFP

Res­cue works tak­ing place af­ter the Ecuador earth­quake.

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