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Ecuador’s President: Earthquake Recovery to Cost Billions of Dollars


Volunteers search for survivors in buildings destroyed by an earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador, Sunday, April 17, 2016.

Volunteers search for survivors in buildings destroyed by an earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador, Sunday, April 17, 2016.

Ecuador’s President says billions of dollars will be needed to help the country rebuild from the powerful earthquake last Saturday.

The earthquake killed at least 413 people and injured more than 2,500. Thousands of people were left homeless.

President Rafael Correa visited the northeastern town of Portoviejo Monday to see some of the damage. Portoviejo and the nearby cities of Manta and Pedernales were among the areas that suffered the greatest damage in the earthquake.

The government says it will take loans from several international organizations, including the World Bank, to pay for its rescue and recovery efforts.

Ecuador is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The economy of the small, South American country is in recession because of low oil prices on international markets.

A United States government agency announced Tuesday that it will send two teams to Ecuador. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will deploy one team to assist the government by studying the country’s damage and needs.

A second team will work with the United Nations to help organize international rescue activities. USAID has promised to donate at least $100,000 for supplies.

The U.N. Children’s Fund reported Tuesday that the earthquake damaged 119 schools, affecting at least 150,000 children.

Search-and-rescue crews have launched an effort to find survivors trapped in the wreckage of buildings destroyed in the earthquake. Three people were rescued from the wreckage of a shopping center in Manta after being trapped for 32 hours.

Thousands of soldiers and police have been deployed throughout Ecuador to provide temporary shelters and food. And aid workers from many nations -- including Spain, Peru, Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela -- have arrived to help.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

This story first appeared on VOANews.com. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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