Hundreds Dead as 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Ecuador Days After Japan Temblor
Hundreds are dead and hundreds injured after a powerful earthquake rocked Ecuador Saturday night.
Initial reports put the death toll from the 7.8 magnitude temblor at 77, but that number soon rose to over 200 as rescuers swarmed the South American country.
It was the deadliest temblor to hit Ecuador since March 1987, when a 7.2-magnitude quake killed 1,000 people. It was the most powerful quake to hit the country since 1979, the USGS said.
And the danger is not yet over.
Over 100 aftershocks have continued to ravage Ecuador's coast near the epicenter of the initial quake, some as powerful as 5.5-magnitude, the AP reports.
As rescuers rushed in they, officials warned there will very likely be more aftershocks to come, some of them potentially even more powerful.
Deaths were reported as far away as Guayaquil, which is Ecuador's largest city and is located hundreds of miles from the quake's epicenter.
Rescue efforts in the worst affected coastal region were initially hampered after more than a dozen roads leading out from the more populous landlocked regions were destroyed by the quake.
Ecuador's quake was estimated to be around 6 times stronger than the ones that wreaked havoc in southern Japan just days earlier.
A magnitude-6.5 earthquake that struck Thursday near Kumamoto, Japan was followed by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake 28 hours later.
Those quakes killed at least 41 and injured some 1,500, officials said.