Death toll from Ecuador quake now more than 400

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Baku, April 19, AZERTAC

Emergency workers in Ecuador urgently dug through massive heaps of rubble Monday looking for survivors of the monstrous earthquake that more than 400, collapsed buildings and ravaged the Andean nation's already brittle infrastructure, according to USA Today.

Ecuador Security Minister Cesar Navas said the death toll had risen to 413. President Rafael Correa toured the overwhelmed Verdi Cervallos Regional Hospital in Portoviejo, comforting patients and assessing the hospital's ability to cope with the disaster.

The magnitude-7.8 temblor struck Saturday night; its epicenter was the sleepy fishing village of Muisne. The quake and more than 100 aftershocks rattled cities hundreds of miles away, knocking out electricity, water and communications to scores of communities.

Correa said 10,000 soldiers and more than 3,500 police officers were helping to dig out and maintain order in the hardest-hit cities strung along the nation's Pacific Coast. More than 800 volunteers and staff from the Ecuadorian Red Cross have been active in search and rescue operations, first aid and other support tasks, the Red Cross said.

“Reconstruction will cost billions of dollars,” Correa told Reuters news service.

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