UPDATE: According to NBC News, more than 413 people have been killed due to a massive earthquake in Ecuador, the State Department confirms. One American has been killed, Kirby noted.
“We are aware of the death of one U.S. citizen and have been in touch with their family.” John Kirby, a spokesman for the department, said. “We will continue working with Ecuadorian authorities going forward.”
In addition, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said two Canadians were killed as well, NBC reported.
Late Saturday night, the South American country of Ecuador was hit by a massive 7.8 Richter scale earthquake that killed almost 250 people and injured more than 2,500 people.
CNN reported that the hardest hit part of the country was the coastal Manabi Province, where about 200 people died, meanwhile the tourist cities of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales were deeply impacted as well.
Survivor Jose Meregildo told CNN in his town of Guayaquil, 300 miles away from the quake’s epicenter, the tremors could still be felt. “Everybody in my neighborhood was screaming saying it was going to be the end of the world.”
Rescue workers have been going through the rubble looking for survivors and bodies. With increased military presence trying to provide support to residents, clean water seems to be one of many persistent issues in the midst of this natural disaster.
“The lack of water and communication remains a big problem,” Ricardo Peñaherrera of Ecuador’s national emergency management office told CNN en Español. “Many highways are in bad shape, especially in the mountainous area because it has been raining recently due to (the) El Niño weather phenomenon.”
This deadly quakes follow two earlier ones in Japan, CNN noted. Forty-one people were killed when a magnitude-6.2 earthquake crushed the Kyushu region on Thursday, followed by a magnitude-7.0 in the same area Saturday.
We send prayers to everyone affected by this tragedy.
This is a developing story and we will update as more information is available.