A large earthquake has rocked the country of Ecuador on Saturday (Apr. 16), leaving at least 235 reported dead thus far and over 1,500 others injured. It was the strongest quake to hit the South American nation since 1979 according to developing reports.

International outlets have been covering the Ecuador quake, including the Associated Press and CNN. With emergency crews entering flattened buildings and other structures, it is now a deadly race against time to find survivors among the rubble.

From CNN:

The catastrophic earthquake that destroyed buildings in Ecuador on Saturday became far more devastating Sunday, when the death toll soared to 235 — and it’s expected to rise.

At least 1,500 people were injured, said Ricardo Peñaherrera of Ecuador’s national emergency management office.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” survivor Jose Meregildo said Sunday about the tremors that violently shook his house in Guayaquil, 300 miles away from the quake’s epicenter.

“Everybody in my neighborhood was screaming saying it was going to be the end of the world.”

The AP adds that the quake was measured at 7.8 in magnitude and mostly centered on the nation’s Pacific coastline. President Rafael Correa was away in Rome when the quake hit, and used social media to inform his public of the disaster and the damage left in its wake.

Despite the distance of the quake’s center not in a densely populated region, the effects of the event spread several hundred miles. As part of the country’s response to the disaster, 10,000 armed forces members will take to the streets to assist those in need. Additionally, 4, 600 national police officers aided the military effort. Food, shelter, and other services are being provided quickly as possible.

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