The Latest: Ecuador says death toll from quake jumps to 413

AP News
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Posted: Apr 18, 2016 7:29 PM
The Latest: Ecuador says death toll from quake jumps to 413

PORTOVIEJO, Ecuador (AP) — The Latest on Ecuador's devastating earthquake (all times local):

6:25 p.m.

Ecuador's government says the death toll from the weekend's powerful earthquake has climbed to 413.

The increase came in the government's latest bulletin on casualties from the powerful 7.8-magnitude quake that hit the country's Pacific coastline.

About 2,500 people are listed as injured.

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5:50 p.m.

The U.N. humanitarian chief is going to Ecuador to see the impact of the earthquake and mobilize financial support from donors.

The U.N. humanitarian office says Stephen O'Brien is to fly there Monday night and is expected to meet with people in affected communities as well as senior officials, emergency responders and humanitarian organizations.

O'Brien is also the U.N. emergency relief coordinator and has already sent a disaster and assessment coordination team to Ecuador.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric says UNICEF has delivered 20,000 water purification tablets to Pedernales, which is in an area of heavy damage. And the U.N. refugee agency said Monday that it is preparing for a major aid airlift to help people displaced by the quake, in response to a request for U.N. help from Ecuador's government.

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4 p.m.

At least one American is among the 350 confirmed dead from Ecuador's powerful earthquake.

State Department spokesman John Kirby hasn't identified the dead American, but says U.S. officials have been in touch with the victim's family.

Kirby says the U.S. will continue to work with Ecuadorean authorities to verify the welfare and whereabouts of all U.S. citizens.

The area of pristine beaches hardest hit by the quake is popular with American tourists and ex-pats.

Earlier, Canada said two of its citizens were killed.

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1 p.m.

A relative is confirming that two members of a Quebec family were among those killed during a massive earthquake in Ecuador over the weekend.

Guy Laflamme tells Montreal radio station 98.5 FM that his nephew's wife, Jennifer Mawn, and their son, Arthur Laflamme, were among the hundreds reported dead after the roof of a residence collapsed on them.

Laflamme says his nephew, Pascal Laflamme, and his family had moved to Ecuador recently.

He said Monday Pascal had been chatting on FaceTime with his father in Quebec when the magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Saturday night.

He said "Pascal shouted, 'get out! get out!' and all communication was cut off."

Mawn was a neuropsychiatrist who founded a clinic working with children and teens in Longueuil, south of Montreal.

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9:45 a.m.

Rescuers and aid from all over the world are flooding into Ecuador 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 says hundreds of international aid workers are 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 says the U.S. will help in any way possible.

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

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8:05 a.m.

Ecuador's security minister says the death toll from the country's devastating earthquake has risen to 350.

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

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6:15 a.m.

The Spanish Red Cross says as many as 100,000 people may need assistance in the area of Ecuador devastated by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that killed at least 272 people and injured thousands.

The group says 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 says that 3,000 to 5,000 people need temporary housing after the quake flattened homes.

Spain's Red Cross says it is helping the Ecuadorean Red Cross evaluate need for the coastal area devastated by the quake.

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

As aid poured into Ecuador, the country's security coordination office issued a tweet thanking Mexico for sending 120 rescue workers.

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5:35 a.m.

New aftershocks are rattling Ecuador — part of the hundreds following a deadly magnitude-7.8 earthquake that has killed at least 272 people in the Andean nation.

Ecuador's Geophysics Institute says 230 aftershocks had hit as of Sunday night, ranging in magnitude from 3.5 to 6.1 and striking at shallow depths.

The institute also sent out a steady stream of tweets Monday morning each time a new aftershock was registered. Most were happening in the Pacific Ocean near the hard-hit coastal cities of Pedernales and Manta.

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has warned the death toll could rise significantly from Saturday's quake, which also injured more than 2,500 people.

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4:25 a.m.

Spain has sent a military plane with 47 search-and-rescue experts and their five dogs to Ecuador to help authorities look for survivors from the earthquake that killed at least 272 people.

The jet left a military base airport outside Madrid on Monday morning and was expected to arrive in the hard-hit city of Guayaquil in the afternoon.

The 39 soldiers and eight firefighters were sent after Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said the death toll was sure to rise much higher amid evidence some people are still alive underneath rubble.

Correa said earlier that rescue teams were also coming in from Mexico and Colombia. He says the 7.8-magnitude earthquake is the worst natural disaster to befall the Andean nation since a 1949 earthquake in Ambato that killed thousands

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1:25 a.m.

Ecuador's president says the earthquake death toll in country has risen to at least 272 and is sure to go much higher.

After visiting areas hard hit by the quake, President Rafael Correa gave the new count to reporters early Monday and said it would "surely rise, and in a considerable way."

Correa says Ecuador will overcome the tragedy. He says "the Ecuadorean spirit knows how to move forward, and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments."

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1:10 a.m.

As Ecuador digs out from its strongest earthquake in decades, tales of devastating loss are everywhere amid the rubble. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador's normally placid Pacific Ocean coast, buckling highways, knocking down an air traffic control tower and flattening homes and buildings. At least 262 people died, including two Canadians, and thousands are homeless.

Portoviejo, a provincial capital of nearly 300,000, was among the hardest hit, with the town's mayor reporting at least 100 deaths. Among them are 17-year-old Sayira Quinde, her mother, father and toddler brother, crushed when a building collapsed on their car.

A grief stricken aunt, Johana Estupinan, is now heading to the town of Esmeraldas, where she will bury her loved ones and break the news to her sister's three now-orphaned children. The Quinde family had driven to her house from their home hours north to drop off Sayira before she was to start classes at a public university on a scholarship to study medicine.

The aunt says "I never thought my life would be destroyed in a minute."