Ecuador quake: Toll rises to 246

Quito, April 18 (IANS) The toll in the deadly 7.8-magnitude temblor that struck Ecuador on Saturday evening has risen to 246 on Monday, Vice President Jorge Glas said.

Glas said as many as 2,527 were injured in the earthquake, that has generated at least 189 aftershocks of various strength.

Ecuador, who has declared a state of emergency in six provinces, has mobilised around 14,000 army and public security personnel to the affected areas.

On Sunday, Glas visited the affected cities of Manta, Pedernales and Portoviejo, in the northeastern province of Manabi, which has been difficult to reach due to damaged highways.

Saturday’s quake has been reported to be Ecuador’s biggest since 1979. More than 130 aftershocks have followed.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a fairly shallow depth of 19.2 km, about 27 km from Muisne in a sparsely populated area.

The quake was also felt in Colombia, where patients in a clinic in Cali city were evacuated from the building.

In Ecuador, helicopters and buses ferrying troops have been hampered by landslides. People were using their bare hands to try to dig out survivors in some areas.

Food and other essential items were handed out, with aid also coming from Venezuela and Mexico.

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