At least 413 people have been confirmed dead in Ecuador, after it was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit the country’s Pacific coastline.
Officials say that this number could still rise, as rescue teams continue to search for people who could be trapped in the rubble.
Nearly 3,000 people were also wounded. All of the country’s coastal provinces were put on state of emergency.
President Rafael Correa said that the reconstruction of the damages “will cost billions of dollars,” adding that the economic impact of the disaster could be huge.
Rescue efforts all over the world have already been sent to country. Mexico sent 120 helpers, Spain spent rescue experts, and Chile sent firefighters. Over 13,000 emergency workers have also been deployed.
“The lack of water and communication remains a big problem,” said Ricardo Peñaherrera of the national emergency management office. “Many highways are in bad shape, especially in the mountainous area because it has been raining recently due to (the) El Niño weather phenomenon.”
Some of the other needed items, according to the country’s Congress, include tents, mattresses, canned food and mosquiito nets.
“I fear that figure will go up because we keep on removing rubble,” said Correa said in an announcement. “There are signs of life in the rubble, and that is being prioritised.”
The BBC reported the foreigners who have been confirmed dead: Theresa Crockett, a nun from Ireland, a United States citizen, and two Canadians identified as Jennifer Mawn and her son Arthur.