April 19, 2016

PORTOVIEJO ECUADOR 3 Days after Powerful 7.8 Earthquake Hits the Ecuador Coast

Update 3 days after: rescuers continue searching the destruction while the death toll keeps rising and many people are still buried under mounds of cement rubble. Clearly, we will be hearing of more deaths as rescue workers continue to clear away debris scattered around collapsed buildings.  

Portoviejo Ecuador was another hard hit city from the April, 16, 2016 powerful earthquake, along with the fishing town of Pedernales.  Portoviejo is the 6th largest city in Ecuador and is home to 350,000 people; its also the capital of Manabi Province. 

This once bustling and thriving "big-little city"(what we call it) is situated about 19 miles inland from the nearest beach towns of Manta and Crucita. Today people are scrambling to find loved ones in the rubble and get over the shock of this tragic disaster. 

Portoviejo Ecuador

Remembering Portoviejo Ecuador

When we visited Portoviejo for the first time it reminded us of one of those densely populated cities somewhere in Asia because of all the outdoor vendors and produce stands that line the streets back to back. It was way busier than any other town or city we visited on the Ecuador coast. The town seemed to be thriving quite well then with several huge and modern shopping malls and high-end grocery stores like Supermaxi. We do not know how these buildings fared.

We enjoyed our day in Portoviejo, eating lunch in a very busy Chinese restaurant and then afterwards doing some shopping, walking around finding bargain after bargain. In this video we're traveling through the main part of the city in a taxi. It provides the viewer with an idea of what Portoviejo looked like before the earthquake rocked the city.   
                        
Here is drone footage of Portoviejo after the earthquake and it looks like the quake destroyed some of the buildings and homes. Many buildings look like they remain intact, however no telling what the inside looks like.

In 2012 we took a Tuk Tuk through some of the small beach villages just off the coast of Ecuador. This is one of the areas where the quake hit the hardest.
                         

What's Happening Now on the Coast 3 days after the Earthquake Hit?

The Ecuador coastal areas hit the hardest from the quake are Pedernales, Esmeraldas, Atacames, Portoviejo, Bahia de Carquez, Manta...and all of the villages in between these, which there are many little fishing villages completely decimated; the extent of the damage is in the billions of dollars says the president of Ecuador.


Reports are coming in saying the quake jolted up a prison in Portoviejo with 100 inmates taking advantage of the earthquake, scaling the wall and escaping They say police have captured a few of the rioters and are searching for the rest of the inmates. We hope they catch them soon!  Source: BNO NEWS

We're reading of sporadic looting and prowling in some of the hardest hit locations. We're getting reports that armed hoodlums are pirating trucks filled with supplies that were dropped off in Pedernales to help the hungry and weary families; many people in this fishing town of 40,000 have been left homeless and are sleeping in the streets.
Source: Reuters  

Other reports are saying that diseases are spreading in the central and north coast beaches and the stench of dead bodies is getting worse every hour. Portoviejo is hot and humid this time of year. Crews are working hard to dig more people out of the rubble and the death toll is estimated to be in the thousands with many of those deaths coming from the hardest hit areas, the city of Portoviejo and the town of Pedernales.  

The latest news has number of deaths at 443 (3 hours ago) and reports say that many more are still trapped within and under the crumbled buildings. After 7:00 pm today it will be the third day without water for those that are trapped and so it is coming to a critical point to find those that are still alive before they die of thirst. Very difficult time for loved ones still missing.

The president was in Portoviejo late Sunday and he said the earthquake was the worst natural disaster to hit Ecuador since a 1949 earthquake in the Andean city of Ambato, which took over 5,000 lives. This is a sad and tragic time in Ecuador.

The hardest hit towns start from Manta and extend into Esmeraldas and that is where they usually are on the coast when quakes hit.
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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