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Strong 6.1 Aftershock Shakes Ecuador

  • VOA News

Residents recover their belongings days after an earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador, April 20, 2016.

Residents recover their belongings days after an earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador, April 20, 2016.

A strong 6.1 magnitude aftershock rattled Ecuador's Pacific coast early Wednesday, frightening residents who have barely begun to recover from Saturday's powerful earthquake.

The death toll from Saturday's 7.8 quake rose to 525 Wednesday. Rescuers are losing hope of finding anyone else still alive under tons of wreckage.

More than 4,600 people were injured and at least 100 people are still listed as missing

Ecuador's president Rafael Correa told reporters the main task right now is recovering and burying the dead.

"These are critical hours during which there is hope of life, but, on the other hand, there are cadavers in the rubble that begin a decomposition process so we must deal with those cadavers and worry more about that than the remote possibility that someone is still alive," he said.

Correa also said he is considering issuing bonds on the global market to help Ecuador pay for the $2 billion to $3 billion in damage.

A man jokes around after taking some pictures of a section of highway that collapsed due to a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, in Chacras, Ecuador, April 19, 2016.

A man jokes around after taking some pictures of a section of highway that collapsed due to a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, in Chacras, Ecuador, April 19, 2016.

Ecuador is already in a severe recession because of low oil prices. The disaster is expected to push the economy into negative growth for 2016.

Millions of dollars in emergency aid and rescue workers from around the world have already poured into Ecuador.

They are using everything from heavy equipment and dogs to their bare hands to look for victims.

Fears are also starting to emerge for those left homeless that they are easy targets for disease-carrying insects and have limited access to clean drinking water

The Spanish Red Cross estimates up to 100,000 people need emergency aid.

Saturday's quake was felt across the entire country, but the coastal cities of Portoviejo, Manta, and Pedernales were hit the hardest.

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