Death count in Ecuador earthquake reaches 272

RIO DE JANEIRO — At least 272 people were killed by Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Ecuador, President Rafael Correa said Sunday evening in an address to the nation.

“Officially, the number [of those killed] in the country totals 272,” Correa said. “The scale of the tragedy is huge, but we will be able to move forward.”

He called the quake “the biggest tragedy in the past 67 years.”

Correa said rescuers and firefighters pay the main attention to the search for survivors under the debris of buildings. There are signs that there could be many survivors.

A magnitude 7.8 quake occurred in the evening of April 16 near the town of Pedernales in the country’s northwest. Its seismic center was located at a depth of 20 kilometers. A number of regional countries, including Bolivia, Columbia and Venezuela, have already sent to Ecuador rescuers and humanitarian aid. PNA/TASS/