The death toll from the earthquake that hit Ecuador's Pacific coast over the weekend now stands at around 350, Security Minister Cesar Navas told media.
"We've got close to 350 people killed. The number of injured has also risen," Navas told Teleamazonas from Portoviejo, one of the worst-hit areas. Officials said earlier in the day that 2,068 people were injured in the temblor, which toppled buildings and ripped up streets.
Search, rescue and evacuation operations continue, with teams from Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Cuba, as well as firefighters from the Andean city of Cuenca, joining the effort in the past few hours, Navas said. Aid distribution operations are also ongoing, with supplies being provided to the cities and districts most affected by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake, the minister said.
President Rafael Correa, meanwhile, visited the earthquake zone, getting a firsthand look at the damage. Correa spoke with officials and listened to requests for aid and complaints from residents, who said water prices had surged in the aftermath of the natural disaster.