Many are dead after powerful earthquake in Ecuador

Many are dead after powerful earthquake in Ecuador
Authorities in Ecuador have declared a state of emergency after the worst earthquake in decades.

The death toll from the earthquake in Ecuador Saturday night has risen to 77 people, while 588 are injured, said Vice President Jorge Glas.

The earthquake has caused major damage, especially in the port city of Guayaquil.

The earthquake that struck off the coast, was measured to 7.8 magnitude in strength and was so powerful that it could be felt about 170 km away in the capital Quito, where the electrical power was gone for a while.

Several buildings swayed, and scared residents ran into the streets. Police and the National Guard have been mobilized to maintain peace and order.

There are reports of at least 36 aftershocks up to 6 in strength that has shaken regions in several places in the country, including in the provinces of Manabi and Guayas where the material damage is huge.

The authorities fear that the number of fatalities will rise when reports come from the areas that was hit hardest.

Vice President Jorge Glas said at a press conference that are reports of deaths in the towns Portoviejo and Manta, as well as in the provincial capital of Guayaquil.

He added that there is declared a state of emergency in the country and that the earthquake is the most powerful that has affected Ecuador for many decades.

The government has set up a crisis team and Glas said he's going to lead the nationwide rescue efforts.

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