Technology | Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:52am EDT
Related: WORLD, ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL DISASTERS
PEDERNALES/CANOA, ECUADOR | BY JULIA SYMMES COBB AND ANA ISABEL MARTINEZ
Earthquake-stricken Ecuador faced the grim reality of recovering more bodies than survivors as rescue efforts went into a third day on Tuesday and the death toll climbed over 400 in the poor South American country.
Praying for miracles, distraught family members beseeched rescue teams to find missing loved ones as they dug through debris of flattened homes, hotels, and stores in the hardest-hit Pacific coastal region.
Meanwhile, a moved President Rafael Correa, visiting the disaster zone, said the quake had inflicted between $2 billion and $3 billion of damage on the OPEC nation's already-fragile economy.
The damage from the quake could knock between two and three percentage points off gross domestic product growth, he told reporters. "Let's not deceive ourselves, it's going to be a long struggle ... Reconstruction for years, billions (of dollars) in investment."
In Pedernales, a devastated rustic beach town, crowds gathered behind yellow tape to watch firemen and police sift through rubble overnight. The town's soccer stadium was serving as a makeshift relief center and a morgue.
"Find my brother! Please!" shouted Manuel, 17, throwing his arms up to the sky in front of a small corner store where his younger brother had been working when the quake struck.
When an onlooker said recovering a body would at least give him the comfort of burying his sibling, he yelled: "Don't say that!"
But for Manuel and hundreds of other anxious Ecuadoreans with relatives missing, time was running out.
As of Tuesday, rescue efforts would become more of a search for corpses, Interior Minister Jose Serrano told Reuters.
The death toll stood at 413, but was expected to rise.