In the wake of the devastation brought by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit the northwestern part of Ecuador on Sunday, a few residents in the badly-hit areas remained missing, including a baby.
Vanessa Santos, the baby’s mother, as reported by the NBC News, said her baby has been missing and trapped in the rubble for five hours. Vanessa’s baby is only one of hundreds of people trapped in piles of fallen debris.
The killer quake hit the country minutes before 7 p.m., when most of people were at their houses having dinner, which resulted to many trapped inside collapsed structures. Children in particular were among those reported trapped, as most of them were inside the houses when the earthquake happened.
As of writing, the death toll has risen to 262, and authorities in the area are expecting the figure to increase in the next hours. New updates are still coming in. Hundreds were also reported to be badly injured in the Sunday quake that jolted most of the country’s northwestern part.
Ecuador President Rafael Correa, took to Twitter to send his message of condolences to families of those who died in Sunday’s quake. Correa also placed the entire Ecuador under state of emergency to hasten recovery measures and rescue those still trapped in mountains of debris.
“Thank you to the whole world for solidarity. Our infinite love to the families of the dead. The immediate priority is to rescue people in the rubble. Everything can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be recovered, and that’s what hurts the most,” Correa said in a series of tweets.
Meanwhile, thousands of families from earthquake-hit villages are currently taking refuge in evacuation centers and makeshift tents while making sure everything’s cleared out, Reuters reported.
Looting is also common in some areas, especially in Pedernales, where almost 60 percent of the houses were damaged by the earthquake, the report added.