Another strong quake hits disaster-stricken Ecuador

A woman trying to console an eight-year-old boy whose mother died in the April 16 earthquake, during her funeral in Manta, Ecuador, on Thursday.
A woman trying to console an eight-year-old boy whose mother died in the April 16 earthquake, during her funeral in Manta, Ecuador, on Thursday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Temblor comes as survivors of last week's quake seek food and medicine

SAN JACINTO/COJIMIES (Ecuador) • A 6-magnitude earthquake struck off Ecuador's disaster-stricken coast as survivors of an earlier quake that killed 587 people clamoured for food, water and medicine in parts of the disaster zone.

The latest quake hit about 100km north-north-west of Portoviejo and at a depth of 10km, said the US Geological Survey on Thursday. There were no immediate reports of damage and there was no tsunami warning.

President Rafael Correa said on Twitter that three aftershocks were registered on Thursday night, and added: "Have strength!"

"We're trying to survive. We need food," said Mr Galo Garcia, a 65-year-old lawyer, as he waited in line for water from a truck in the village of San Jacinto. "There's nothing in the shops. We're eating the vegetables we grow."

Mr Correa's socialist government, facing a huge rebuilding task at a time of reduced oil revenues, said there was no lack of supplies, just problems with distribution that should be quickly resolved.

The government quickly moved supplies to the main towns and set up shelters for more than 25,000 people in soccer stadiums and airports, but shattered roads have impeded the operation.

On streets near Pedernales, one of the worst-hit towns, children held signs begging for food.

Mr Correa has said Ecuador, an Opec member, could possibly issue bonds abroad to fund reconstruction after last Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake. He has estimated damage at US$2 billion to US$3 billion (S$2.7 billion to S$4 billion).

Separately, property damage from last week's earthquakes in Japan could cost up to US$3.5 billion, modelling firm RMS said on Thursday. The death toll has reached 48 from the quakes in the Kumamoto area of south-western Japan.

RMS said its estimate did not include business interruption, damage to infrastructure and damage to Kumamoto Castle.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2016, with the headline 'Another strong quake hits disaster-stricken Ecuador'. Print Edition | Subscribe