A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Ecuador on Saturday (April 16), leaving 272 people dead. An additional 2,500 civilians suffered injuries.
CNN reports the devastating earthquake hit the coastal Manabi Province hardest, where 200 people were killed. The cities of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales saw the most severe damage, CNN reports.
The region was also rocked with 163 aftershocks.
In the days since, rescue crews have been digging through the rubble in search of survivors.
President Rafael Correa said, "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."
Temporary hospitals and shelters have been erected in Pedernales and Portoviejo to tend to the needs of the injured and homeless. Ecuador’s armed forces and police have been deployed to the affected areas to maintain peace and security.
Pope Francis called for prayer for those affected by the Ecuador earthquake, as well as those affected by two previous earthquakes that struck Japan last week. During his Sunday prayer Francis said, "Last night a violent earthquake hit Ecuador, causing numerous victims and great damages. Let's pray for those populations, and for those of Japan, where as well there has been some earthquakes in the last days."
Publication date: April 18, 2016