Death toll from Ecuador earthquake now at 480 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Death toll from Ecuador earthquake now at 480

Posted: Updated:
MANTA, Ecuador -

 The latest on the deadly earthquake in Ecuador (all times local):
    
4:35 p.m.
    
The official death toll from Ecuador's most-powerful earthquake in decades has risen to 480.
    
Deputy Interior Minister Diego Fuentes also says that 2,000 people had been reported as missing to a government registry created to track casualties. But it's not clear if all of those people remain unaccounted for.
    
Earlier Tuesday, Ecuador's Defense Ministry said 231 people were missing.
    
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4:25 p.m.
    
The White House says President Barack Obama has called Ecuador's leader to relay the condolences of the American people over the deadly earthquake that struck the coast of the South American nation.
    
The statement says Obama also talked with President Rafael Correa about aid that the U.S. will provide to help victims of the disaster. Obama also said the U.S. would support recovery efforts.
    
The White House says Correa thanked Americans for providing help.
    
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3:15 p.m.
    
Mexican authorities are trying to quash rumors that a powerfully destructive earthquake supposedly has been predicted to strike the country.
    
The rumors began spreading on social media after the Saturday night quake in Ecuador that killed at least 433 people. The rumors said there had been predictions that a quake of up to magnitude 8.6 was imminent in Mexico.
    
At least one message in circulation cited the country's National Seismological Service and the National Autonomous University of Mexico as the purported sources of the alert. But the Seismological Service posted a scrolling, ticker-like notice on its website Tuesday assuring Mexicans that the agency "is NOT issuing any seismic alert."
    
It linked to information explaining that quakes cannot be predicted.
    
In 1985, a magnitude-8.0 quake near the Mexican coast caused hundreds of buildings in the capital to collapse and killed at least 9,500 people.
    
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2:05 p.m.
    
President Barack Obama says the United States will do everything it can to support Ecuador as it recovers from the devastating earthquake.
    
Obama spoke by phone with Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Tuesday. The White House says Obama offered condolences on behalf of the American people for lives lost and that the two leaders discussed U.S. government assistance to support earthquake victims.
    
The White House says that Correa thanked Americans for helping during the difficult recovery period.
    
The call comes as Ecuador's government says the death toll is now at least 433, with another 4,027 injured.
    
Obama called the Ecuadorian leader shortly before departing on a trip to Saudi Arabia and Europe.
    
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1:25 p.m.
    
Ecuador's government has updated its death toll for the weekend's magnitude-7.8 earthquake. It now says at least 433 people have died.
    
The Defense Ministry also gave an estimate of the missing for the first time, putting that number at 231. That means the death toll is likely to rise in the coming days.
    
Another 4,027 people are injured.
    
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12:35 p.m.
    
While the human tragedy of Ecuador's most-powerful earthquake in decades is still sinking in, the government is just beginning to evaluate the monumental task of rebuilding.
    
President Rafael Correa says it could cost as much as $3 billion to rebuild. That's about 3 percent of Ecuador's gross domestic product.
    
He told reporters Tuesday: "It's going to be a long battle."
    
The problem is Ecuador doesn't have the extra money. Prices for its commodities have been falling of late on lower demand from China.
    
Ecuador's growth last year was stagnant. And even before the earthquake, the International Monetary Fund was forecasting its economy would shrink by around 4.5 percent in 2016. Oil is Ecuador's largest export and cover 35 percent of the government budget.
    
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12:15 p.m.
    
Ecuador's foreign minister says at least nine foreigners are among the 413 dead from the country's earthquake.
    
Guillaume Long tells state-run Gamavision that a citizen of Great Britain, two Canadians, three Cubans, two Colombians and a person from the Dominican Republic are on the official list of those reported dead.
    
He did not count an American citizen who the State Department Monday said was also killed.
    
Long said the list of foreigners is likely to rise because the epicenter of the magnitude-7.8 quake is an area of laid-back, pristine beaches popular with foreign tourists and expats.
    
10:25 a.m.
    
The U.S. is deploying disaster experts to Ecuador and sending $100,000 in supplies as the country grapples with tens of thousands of people displaced by Saturday's earthquake.
    
The U.S. Agency for International Development announced Tuesday that it was joining the effort to help survivors of Saturday's magnitude-7.8 earthquake in the South American country. Teams from Mexico, Switzerland, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries are already in place.
    
The agency says U.S. workers will help analyze the situation on the ground and work to meet humanitarian needs.
    
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4:50 a.m.
    
A nun from Northern Ireland killed in the Ecuador earthquake has been remembered as a "superstar" by her family.
    
A Roman Catholic religious order says Sister Clare Theresa Crockett was leading a group of young trainee nuns to safety at a school where she worked when a stairwell collapsed. She and five of the young postulants died. Three injured nuns were rescued from the rubble.
    
Crockett, who was 33 and from Londonderry, taught music at the Colegio Sagrada Familia school in Playa Prieta.
    
The order of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother said Crockett and other nuns had been working to help residents hit by heavy local flooding when the earthquake struck on Saturday.
    
The order said in a statement that "Sister Clare had spent nearly 15 years of her life in consecration to the Lord. She was a generous Sister with a special gift for reaching out to children and young people."
    
Crockett's cousin Emmet Doyle said: "She was a superstar. Everybody loved her."
    
"She died as she lived, helping others."
    
___
    
3:30 a.m.
    
Ecuador's foreign minister says more international rescuers are heading to the country's disaster zone of flattened buildings to help in the race against time to find survivors from a powerful magnitude-7.8 earthquake
    
Guillaume Long tweeted that 654 search experts from other nations were on the ground late Monday and that more were expected to arrive Tuesday - bringing to 13 the nationalities involved in the rescue.
    
The government reported Monday that the official death count had increased to 413 and was expected to rise further in the days ahead. Among the dead were an American and two Canadians.
    
Complicating rescue efforts is the lack of electricity in many areas, meaning noisy power generators must be used, making it harder to hear people who might be trapped beneath rubble.
    
More than 2,000 people were injured.
    
Spain's Red Cross said as many as 5,000 people might need temporary housing because of destroyed homes and 100,000 need some sort of aid.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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