Galapagos escapes impact of Ecuador quake but coastal cities badly hit

Galapagos escapes impact of Ecuador quake but coastal cities badly hit

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Extensive damage to five coastal cities in Ecuador has been reported after Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake which has seen the death toll rise to approximately 400.

More than 2,000 people were injured in the powerful quake which hit the Pacific coast.

The port city of Guayaquil is reporting damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure although its airport and hotels remain open and fully operational, according to the Ecuador Ministry of Tourism.

But the cities of Manta, Pedemales, Bahia de Caraquez and Portoviejo have suffered extensive damage, including the collapse of several buildings and hotels.

Roads to all four cities are closed while the Manta airport is shut to all but flights carrying humanitarian assistance. Manta port remains in operation.

The Galapagos islands, 847 miles from the mainland, escaped the quake and aftershocks. All the airports and cruises in the area are full operational along with guided tours and excursions.

A tsunami alert was lifted a day after the quake but all parks, nature reserves and tourism sites across the country were closed for 24 hours in order fore safety inspections to be carried out.

Tourism minister, Fernando Alvarado, said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones.

“Ecuadorians are resilient and hardworking people and have joined forces to help their countrymen in this time of need.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our tourism industry partners and friends across Ecuador and from around the world to help rebuild the areas most affected along Ecuador’s coast and restore tourism to the region.

“Visitors travelling to Ecuador or planning a visit to unaffected areas can feel confident that their trip will not be impacted and feel secure to continue their plans to visit our country.”

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