M7.8 Ecuador Earthquake Claims 272 Lives, Injures Thousands of Others

The Ecuador earthquake on Saturday night measuring a magnitude of 7.8 has claimed at least 272 lives so far. Thousands of others have been injured, as buildings collapsed hundreds of miles away from the epicenter.

The earthquake hit the Andean nation on Saturday evening at 7pm local time, and was the strongest earthquake Ecuador has felt in decades. Manabi has been the most severely hit, according to the local government, with 272 confirmed dead and more than 2,500 people confirmed injured at the time of writing this. President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency within the South American country, and cut his European visit short to return home.

While it was mostly the coastal areas affected, the quake was felt in Quito, the capital. Parts of Colombia and Peru also felt the effects. The whole country has also faced some destruction.

It has been estimated that 370 buildings have been destroyed, mostly in Manabi and Pedernales. Manabi province saw the largest death toll, according to Ecuador’s national emergency manage office spokesperson Ricardo Penaherrera.

Emergency services were instantly on the scene to help rescue those still alive. They confirmed the first hours were crucial and would spend time working on areas where there were signs of life first. Once all people had been rescued, they could then work on recovering bodies. This is why it is taking longer to estimate the number of people dead and injured from the quake.

Due to the time of the quake, many people were going about their regular Saturday night activities. It meant there were many cars on the roads as overpasses collapsed, and people in shopping malls as they were destroyed. Some people returned home to find their houses flattened and people wandered the streets wondering what to do next.

The Ecuador earthquake follows on from two earthquakes in Southern Japan within 48 hours, and a previous one in Ecuador at M4.4 just two days earlier.

Featured image from BBC tweet included above.

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