Toll in Ecuador earthquake climbs to 499

Quito, April 20 (IANS) The major earthquake that hit Ecuador over the weekend has left at least 499 people dead.

A total of 159 deaths were reported in the worst-hit area of Pedernales in the western province of Manabi, Xinhua news agency reported.

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, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

In addition, at least 4,027 people were injured and 231 people were missing, the National Ministry for Risk Management announced.

The ministry also said that 20,503 people were being housed in shelters after Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

On Tuesday, three people were found alive in the rubble of a building in Manta, according to Ecuador’s firefighter chief Ebber Arroyo.

“We found three people alive at around 4.30 a.m. and we are continuing the work to find (more) survivors,” said Arroyo.

The rescued, two women and a man, were immediately taken to a hospital.

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