Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Aid, rescuers pouring into quake-hit Ecuador

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Members of Japan’s Self-Defence Force check a car they dug out from a landslide site in Minamiaso, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, yesterday.
Members of Japan’s Self-Defence Force search for missing people at a landslide site in Minamiaso, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, yesterday.


Rescuers and aid from all over the world flooded Ecuador yesterday as survivors start a second day in towns flattened by the quake, and the search for people trapped beneath the rubble continues.

Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Guillaume Long said hundreds of international aid workers were already in place. Mexico has sent 120 helpers, Spain sent 80 rescue experts, and Chile sent 49 firefighters. Missions have also arrived from Peru, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Switzerland.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would help in any way possible.

International aid groups have dispatched doctors and psychologists and dogs trained to search for survivors. Workers were also setting up plants to clean drinking water.

The foreign affairs minister said the death toll from the country's devastating earthquake has risen to 350.

Cesar Navas told the Teleamazonas station that rescuers were continuing to seek more victims and survivors in collapsed buildings after Saturday night's magnitude-7.8 quake.

The Spanish Red Cross said as many as 100,000 people may need assistance in the area of Ecuador. The group said 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 said that 3,000 to 5,000 people need temporary housing after the quake flattened homes. Spain's Red Cross said it is helping the Ecuadorean Red Cross evaluate need for the coastal area devastated by the quake.

The statement said about 800 volunteers and staff members with the Ecuadorean Red Cross are involved with search and rescue operations and helping to provide first aid and other services to people in the quake zone.