Death toll in Ecuador earthquake climbs to 499

QUITO — The death toll in the major earthquake which jolted Ecuador on April 16 has caused 499 deaths, the Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday.

In the worst-hit area of Pedernales in the western province of Manabi, 159 deaths have been registered.

In the tourist port of Manta, 142 bodies were found. In Portoviejo, capital of Manabi, all 116 bodies have been identified and handed over to their families, according to the office.

At least 4,027 people were injured in the quake and 231 people were missing, the National Ministry for Risk Management announced previously.

The ministry also said that 20,503 people are currently being housed in shelters after the magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

Some good news broke the gloom Tuesday as three people were found alive in the rubble of a building in Manta, according to Ecuador’s firefighter chief Ebber Arroyo.

The survivors, two women and a man, were immediately taken to hospital for urgent medical care.

Vice President Jorge Glas said in a Twitter update Tuesday morning that power supply was coming back in most of Manabi, and an evaluation of infrastructure would be carried out once power is fully restored.

Glas stressed that to find victims and treat the injured remained the priority.

President Rafael Correa, who was visiting the disaster area Tuesday,estimated that losses caused by the earthquake would amount to around 3 billion U.S. dollars, or 3 percent of the gross domestic product. PNA/Xinhua/northboundasia.com