The Ecuadorian government declared eight days of national mourning as the death toll from the massive earthquake that hit the South American country a week ago has risen to 654. President Rafael Correa made the announcement in his weekly TV broadcast.
The quake, the worst in nearly seven decades, injured at least 12,500 people and left another 58 people missing along the country’s Pacific coast.
Thousands of soldiers and police have been deployed throughout Ecuador to provide emergency relief. Officials said 113 people had been rescued alive from buildings damaged by the quake, which struck eight days ago.
The United Nations appealed for $72.7 million to provide aid to 350,000 people over the next three months. UNICEF reports that the quake has affected at least 150,000 children, having damaged 119 schools. Electricity and water supplies are only being slowly restored.