At least 7,015 people have been injured following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador.
The Andean country has recorded up to 570 deaths and over 2,500 injured in the latest estimates from Ecuador’s Risk Management Office.
The earthquake struck on the coast of Ecuador, affecting the surrounding coastal towns along the peninsula. The epicentre of the quake fell between the towns of Muisne and Pedernales around midday New Zealand time.
The death toll has steadily risen since first news of the quake, as reports came in from local towns of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales.
The South American nation has responded to the devastating quake with the deployment of 10,000 soldiers and up to 4,600 police officers to manage the unfolding crisis. However, official reports have said the lack of coherent communications and dwindling emergency supplies have meant the operation has met significant challenges.
“The lack of water and communication remains a big problem,” says the Ecuadorian Government.
“Many highways are in bad shape, especially in the mountainous area, because it has been raining recently due to [the] El Niño weather phenomenon.”
Further aftershocks following last week’s earthquake has also exacerbated relief efforts with 23 small magnitude quakes felt so far. The largest recorded earthquake was recorded as 6.1 which struck off the coast of Ecuador last Thursday New Zealand time.
According to media reports neighbouring Latin American countries have led the international aid effort, however other countries are now beginning to mobilise a coordinated relief effort.