Ecuador 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Leaves 235 Dead, 1500 Injured [PHOTOS]

Last night, Ecuador was shaken by a devastating, magnitude 7.8 earthquake, leaving a death toll of 235 dead (which is expected to rise) and at least 1,500 injured. Ricardo Peñaherrera of Ecuador's national emergency management office told CNN that the lack of water and communication remains a big problem in one of the countries most populated cities, Guayaquil. Reports say the effects of the quake, which shook the central coast could be felt in the capital, Quito, and into parts of Peru and Colombia.

President Rafael Correa was in the middle of a trip to Italy, which he has cut short to return to his country and deal with what he has declared as a state of emergency. Correa has instructed almost 10,000 troops and 3,500 police to focus on finding survivors. “Everything can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be recovered, and that's what hurts the most,” he declared.

Pope Francis called faithful followers to pray for those affected in the South American country, as well as those in Japan. “Last night a violent earthquake hit Ecuador, causing numerous victims and great damages," the Pontiff said. “Let's pray for those populations, and for those of Japan, where as well there has been some earthquakes in the last days. The help of God and of the brothers give them strength and support.”

While Ecuador is known for having high-magnitude earthquakes, this has been the strongest for the nation since 1979. The quake had its center 16 miles southeast of Muisne, Ecuador, as the United States Geological Survey reported, and it allegedly lasted over 60 seconds, furthering the devastation in affected areas.

Seismologists have also described it as being 20 times stronger than the quake that hit Japan hard, last week.

Up to now, deaths have been reported in the country’s northern provinces such as Manabí, Guayas and Esmeraldas.

Ecuador Earthquake

Debris is pictured after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

Ecuador Earthquake

People stand next to the debris of a building after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the country's northwest Pacific coast causing "considerable damage", in Manta, Ecuador, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Patricio Ramos

Ecuador Earthquake

Debris is pictured after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

Ecuador Earthquake

Firemen work after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

Ecuador Earthquake

Damage is pictured after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

Ecuador Earthquake

Police officers uncover the bodies of victims after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

Natalie Roterman
Natalie Roterman

Natalie (from Mexico) joined Latin Times back in 2014 and she is all about pop culture and entertainment. She also has a genetic love for food and traveling. Follow her and get the scoop on the biggest upcoming films and TV shows, plus interviews with your favorite stars that you won’t want to miss. When she’s not writing for Latin Times, she’s either filming her next episode of “El Show de Natalie,” at a movie theater, binge-watching a new TV series, or planning her next meal.