[UPDATE] Ecuador quake death toll now at 480, 1700 still missing
The death toll from the deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country of Ecuador has risen sharply to 480, with 1,700 people believed to be still missing three days after.
An official, Diego Fuentes, reports that around 2,560 people are injured by the quake that hit Ecuador's coast last Saturday. This death toll has risen from an earlier reported 233 to now 480. This is the first time the government has released a report of the missing people.
Aid scrambles to help Ecuadorians
With three days after the quake struck the country, the hope that there can still be survivors found in the rubble are beginning to dwindle. Families have been forced to sleep outside because most of the rescue operations are still on-going. Undoubtedly, thousands of people are now homeless because their homes were destroyed by the quake that's now killed more than 400 people.
Sniffer dogs and mechanical diggers scramble to rescue possible survivors still trapped in the rubble as the air around the countries becomes engulfed with the stench of dead bodies.
In Manta, two young women were crying as they wandered near the ruined hotel.
"My brother Irvin is under there... The firefighters only arrived this morning. Ecuador is not prepared for such a catastrophe," she said, at loss with the situation.
Noises could be heard from under the hotel, but when rescuers tried searching for survivors, they were met with two dead bodies instead.
Firefighting captain Freddy Arca told that they are currently drilling the ruins of a hotel in Manta, where they believe a family of three, including a two-month old baby, and nine other people are currently trapped.
A morale boost for the rescuers in the desperate scenario happened yesterday when they pulled a woman alive in a destroyed shopping center. Another girl was rescued from the ruins of a building, trapped from 20 hours in the city of Pedernales, local media reported.
UNICEF estimated that 150,000 children are affected by the quake. This, along with more complications because of some after effects of the quake such as landslides and the loss of electricity in towns.
UNICEF is mobilizing to send water-purifying tablets as well as mosquito nets to shield residents from diseases such as the Zika virus.
Oxfam is sending 2,000 kilograms of material for providing safe drinking water.
Also recorded dead in the country from the quake are 6 Colombians, two Canadians, one American, a nun from Northern Ireland, and other victims too from Britain, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), for its part, would be airlifting supplies which includes tents and kitchen sets for the displaced. They are targeting to shelter and aid 40,000 people.
The Spanish Red Cross said that around 100,000 people would need assistance.
As for financial help, the World Bank said that $150 million was ready in its credit line to help with rebuilding efforts. According to the Ecuadorian president, they have access to $600 million emergency credit lines. This might not be enough, however, as the government also estimated that the cost of the quake would be around $3 billion.