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Death Toll Rises to over 400 and more than 2,530 Injured in Ecuador’s Earthquake

The number of victims of a devastating earthquake that jolted Ecuador has increased to 246 dead and 2,527 injured, Vice President Jorge Glas said on Sunday, speaking from the town of Pedernales.

At a live press conference earlier in the day, Glas said the priority was to continue searching for survivors trapped in the rubble and to help the injured in the Saturday earthquake, which has generated at least 189 aftershocks of various strength.

Ecuador, who has declared a state of emergency in six provinces, has mobilized around 14,000 army and public security personnel to affected areas.

On Sunday afternoon, 20 hours after the quake, a young girl was rescued alive from the rubble of a building in Pedernales, one of the worst-affected cities.

Her father, Emanuel Sisa, said this meant four members of his family had been saved but five others had died.

Residents stand in front of the debris of houses after an earthquake in the city of Chone, Manabi Province, Ecuador.

On Sunday, Glas visited the affected cities of Manta, Pedernales and Portoviejo, in the north-eastern province of Manabi, which has been difficult to reach due to damaged highways.

"We are facing logistical difficulties," said Glas, noting that specialized rescue teams have reached the worst-hit zones with technologies and supplies.

In Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, which saw a number of casualties and infrastructure damage, the focus, is on re-opening the city to traffic, with tunnels re-opening and energy companies switching energy plants and refineries back on.

People stay outside their houses after an earthquake in the city of Quito, capital of Ecuador.

The city also secured eight municipal shelters as safe zones for people to gather in, should big aftershocks happen.

International humanitarian aid also began arriving, with the U.S. and Mexico sending teams, and the Ecuadorian community in Spain beginning a donations drive to send home.

Two men look at a crack on the ground after an earthquake in the city of Manta, Ecuador, on April 17, 2016.

The government has tapped up to 300 million U.S. dollars for rescue and rebuilding efforts.

By Robert Muriisa.

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