2 more Canadians killed in Ecuador quake
Two more Canadians have been found among the dead after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake in Ecuador, bringing the total Canadian death toll to four.
Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau confirmed the fatalities on Tuesday. The identities of the latest victims have not been released due to privacy concerns.
“The only thing I can confirm is we have a total of four Canadians who died,” Bibeau told reporters in Ottawa.
A mother and son from Quebec, Jennifer Mawn and Arthur LaFlamme, were identified Sunday as victims by family members. They were killed when the roof of their apartment collapsed.
The massive quake last Saturday was the strongest to hit the region in nearly 30 years. It was centred about 170 kilometres northwest of Quito, Ecuador’s capital.
At least 433 people were killed in the earthquake, which flattened entire towns along the coast. Search-and-rescue teams from across the globe arrived in the region to help locate survivors.
The death toll is expected to rise as the search continues.
In some cases, there were signs of hope. In the coastal town of Manta, a crew used trained dogs and hydraulic equipment to free eight people from the debris of a collapsed shopping mall. They had been trapped for an estimated 32 hours.
Bibeau said the government is prepared to give up to $1 million to humanitarian organizations to respond to “basic needs” in the region, and a six-person team from Global Affairs Canada and National Defence has been dispatched to Ecuador.
(It was earlier reported the government would give up to $100 million, but Bibeau misspoke and later corrected the amount.)
“(They) are going over there to assess the needs and make recommendations so we know how we can best help the region,” Bibeau said.
Canadian officials have not confirmed whether the government will dispatch the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, which includes a field hospital, water purification capabilities and engineering crew.
The DART was previously sent to Nepal last year after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the capital of Kathmandu and surrounding region, killing thousands.
The U.S. pledged Tuesday to send a team of experts and $100,000 in aid.
Ecuador President Rafael Correa estimated the damage to cost $3 billion, about 3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. Rebuilding efforts are expected to take years, he said.
With files from the Associated Press and the Canadian Press