The number of Colombians who died in Ecuador’s earthquake rose to nine on Wednesday, while a frightening 223 Colombians remain missing.
Regions of Ecuador have been devastated by an earthquake on Saturday which measured Magnitude 7.8. It was Ecuador’s most severe earthquake in 40 years.
Authorities have confirmed a total of 525 dead so far, with that number sure to increase while rescue efforts continue as thousands are still missing.
Following the devastating quake, Colombia’s foreign ministry has received requests to locate 481 Colombians who were in Ecuador at the time. Some 250 of these Colombians have since been found alive.
However, the number of Colombian fatalities is likely to rise. The province of Manabi was one of the worst affected and roughly 100,000 Colombians are registered as living there. The Foreign Ministry has established attention points in two of Manabi’s worst affected cities, Manta and Pedernales, to provide assistance to any nationals they find.
The Mayor of Pedernales, Gabriel Alcívar, said “there are villages totally devastated. What happened here in Pedernales is catastrophic. This wasn’t just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town.”
More than 10,000 troops have been deployed to keep order and help with rescue operations, while foreign governments, including Colombia, have sent aid for the survivors and search teams.
Media reports on Wednesday indicate that another magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador in the early hours of the morning, meaning rescue operations had to be temporarily suspended. As time passes, hopes of finding more survivors from Saturday’s quake are dwindling.