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Spanish Red Cross: 100,000 May Need Aid in Ecuador

PORTOVIEJO, Ecuador (AP) — The Latest on Ecuador’s devastating earthquake (all times local):

8:05 a.m. Ecuador’s security minister says the death toll from the country’s devastating earthquake has risen to 350. Cesar Navas tells the Teleamazonas station that rescuers are continuing to seek more victims and survivors in collapsed buildings after Saturday night’s magnitude-7.8 quake.

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6:15 a.m. The Spanish Red Cross says as many as 100,000 people may need assistance in the area of Ecuador devastated by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that killed at least 272 people and injured thousands. The group says in a statement that there is no official estimate yet on the number of affected people but it estimates that between 70,000 and 100,000 will need some kind of help. It says that 3,000 to 5,000 people need temporary housing after the quake flattened homes. Spain’s Red Cross says it is helping the Ecuadorean Red Cross evaluate need for the coastal area devastated by the quake. The statement says about 800 volunteers and staff members with the Ecuadorean Red Cross are involved with search and rescue operations and helping provide first aid and other services to people in the quake zone. As aid poured into Ecuador, the country’s security coordination office issued a tweet thanking Mexico for sending 120 rescue workers.

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5:35 a.m. New aftershocks are rattling Ecuador — part of the hundreds following a deadly magnitude-7.8 earthquake that has killed at least 272 people in the Andean nation. Ecuador’s Geophysics Institute says 230 aftershocks had hit as of Sunday night, ranging in magnitude from 3.5 to 6.1 and striking at shallow depths. The institute also sent out a steady stream of tweets Monday morning each time a new aftershock was registered. Most were happening in the Pacific Ocean near the hard-hit coastal cities of Pedernales and Manta. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has warned the death toll could rise significantly from Saturday’s quake, which also injured more than 2,500 people.

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4:25 a.m. Spain has sent a military plane with 47 search-and-rescue experts and their five dogs to Ecuador to help authorities look for survivors from the earthquake that killed at least 272 people. The jet left a military base airport outside Madrid on Monday morning and was expected to arrive in the hard-hit city of Guayaquil in the afternoon. The 39 soldiers and eight firefighters were sent after Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said the death toll was sure to rise much higher amid evidence some people are still alive underneath rubble. Correa said earlier that rescue teams were also coming in from Mexico and Colombia. He says the 7.8-magnitude earthquake is the worst natural disaster to befall the Andean nation since a 1949 earthquake in Ambato that killed thousands

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1:25 a.m. Ecuador’s president says the earthquake death toll in country has risen to at least 272 and is sure to go much higher. After visiting areas hard hit by the quake, President Rafael Correa gave the new count to reporters early Monday and said it would “surely rise, and in a considerable way.” Correa says Ecuador will overcome the tragedy. He says “the Ecuadorean spirit knows how to move forward, and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments.”

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1:10 a.m. As Ecuador digs out from its strongest earthquake in decades, tales of devastating loss are everywhere amid the rubble. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador’s normally placid Pacific Ocean coast, buckling highways, knocking down an air traffic control tower and flattening homes and buildings. At least 262 people died, including two Canadians, and thousands are homeless. Portoviejo, a provincial capital of nearly 300,000, was among the hardest hit, with the town’s mayor reporting at least 100 deaths. Among them are 17-year-old Sayira Quinde, her mother, father and toddler brother, crushed when a building collapsed on their car. A grief stricken aunt, Johana Estupinan, is now heading to the town of Esmeraldas, where she will bury her loved ones and break the news to her sister’s three now-orphaned children. The Quinde family had driven to her house from their home hours north to drop off Sayira before she was to start classes at a public university on a scholarship to study medicine. The aunt says “I never thought my life would be destroyed in a minute.”

(Story by: The Associated Press)

 

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