Ecuador Earthquake: State of Emergency Declared After at Least 246 Killed

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Ecuador was in a state of emergency Sunday after the magnitude-7.8 earthquake flattened buildings and ravaged towns just before 7 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) Saturday.

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that shook Ecuador’s northwestern coast soared to 246 on Sunday, and hundreds more peole were wounded, the nation’s president said.More than 2,500 people were injured, the government said. At least 370 buildings were destroyed, and 151 more buildings and 26 schools were affected.

States of emergency were declared for the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo. The quake was strongly felt in country’s capital, Quito, about around 100 miles away.ice President Jorge Glas said that 10,000 military troops and 3,500 police officers were dispatched to the affected areas and that $600 million in credit was allotted to the emergency. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry said five helicopters and more than 80 buses ferried 4,000 police to the quake zone.

More than 1,200 Red Cross volunteers were also helping to render first aid and search for an unspecified number of missing people. Authorities said landslides, crumbling bridges and roads were making it difficult for emergency workers to reach the hardest-hit towns.

“We’re trying to do the most we can, but there’s almost nothing we can do,” said Gabriel Alcivar, mayor of Pedernales, a town of 40,000 near the quake’s epicenter, according to The Associated Press.