Death toll from Ecuador earthquake surpasses 650

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Earthquake Survivors Pulled from Rubble in Ecuador

QUITO, April 23 (Reuters) - The death toll from Ecuador's devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake last week has risen to 654 people, the country's emergency management authority said on Saturday.

Last Saturday's quake, the worst in nearly seven decades, injured around 16,600 people and left 58 missing along the country's ravaged Pacific coast. One hundred and thirteen people were rescued from damaged buildings.

"These have been sad days for the homeland," President Rafael Correa said during his weekly television broadcast earlier on Saturday. "The country is in crisis."

Several strong tremors and more than 700 aftershocks have continued to shake the country since the major quake, sparking momentary panic but little additional damage. Tremors are expected to continue for several weeks.

With close to 7,000 buildings destroyed, more than 25,000 people were living in shelters. Some 14,000 security personnel were keeping order in quake-hit areas, with only sporadic looting reported.

See images from the earthquake:

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Death toll from Ecuador earthquake surpasses 650
EL CARMEN, ECUADOR - APRIL 17: People try to recover what was left of their homes after an earthquake struck Ecuador on April 17, 2016 in El Carmen, Ecuador. At least 235 people were killed after a 7.8-magnitude queake. (Photo by Edu Leon/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Police officers stand on debris after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja
Images taken on April 17, 2016 of survivors of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the city of Manta in Ecuador's Manabi province, which was partially destroyed the day before. At least 235 people were killed by the powerful earthquake that destroyed buildings and a bridge in Ecuador and sent terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / ARIEL OCHOA (Photo credit should read ARIEL OCHOA/AFP/Getty Images)
An elderly woman inside her partially destroyed home on April 17, 2016 in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, which was hit the day before by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. At least 233 people have been killed in the quake that struck Ecuador's Pacific coast, President Rafael Correa said Sunday. / AFP / MARCOS PIN MENDEZ (Photo credit should read MARCOS PIN MENDEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
With the help of trained dogs, rescue workers in the city of Manta in Manabi province search on April 17, 2016 through the rubble for survivors of the 7.8-magnitude quake that hit Ecuador on Saturday. At least 235 people were killed by the powerful earthquake that destroyed buildings and a bridge and sent terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / ARIEL OCHOA (Photo credit should read ARIEL OCHOA/AFP/Getty Images)
Local residents and rescue workers in the city of Manta in Manabi province search on April 17, 2016 through the rubble for survivors of the 7.8-magnitude quake that hit Ecuador on Saturday. At least 235 people were killed by the powerful earthquake that destroyed buildings and a bridge and sent terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / ARIEL OCHOA (Photo credit should read ARIEL OCHOA/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers search the rubble after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Gauyaquil, Ecuador on April 17, 2016. At least 235 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and a bridge and sending terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / LUIS ACOSTA (Photo credit should read LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers search for victims under the rubble in one of Ecuador's worst-hit towns, Pedernales, a day after a 7.8-magnitude quake hit the country, on April 17, 2016. Rescuers in Ecuador raced to dig out victims trapped under the rubble of homes and hotels on Sunday after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed at least 246. / AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of a vehicle squashed by rubble after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador on April 17, 2016. At least 77 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and a bridge and sending terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / JUAN CEVALLOS (Photo credit should read JUAN CEVALLOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteers carry a body they pulled from the rubble, in Pedernales, Ecuador, Sunday, April 17, 2016. A magnitude-7.8 quake, the strongest since 1979, hit Ecuador flattening buildings, buckling highways along its Pacific coast and killing hundreds. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa) (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
A rescuer pulls a victim out from the rubble in one of Ecuador's worst-hit towns, Pedernales, a day after a 7.8-magnitude quake hit the country, on April 17, 2016. Rescuers in Ecuador raced to dig out victims trapped under the rubble of homes and hotels on Sunday after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed at least 246. / AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)
Image taken on April 17, 2016 of a survivor of the 7.8-magnitude quake that hit the city of Pedernales, Ecuador the day before. At least 233 people have been killed in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador's Pacific coast, President Rafael Correa said Sunday. / AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)
People are seen amidst rubble after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador on April 17, 2016. At least 77 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and a bridge and sending terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / JUAN CEVALLOS (Photo credit should read JUAN CEVALLOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers search through debris after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja
A person takes pictures of a damaged building after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja
People walk by damaged buildings after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja
Red Cross members, military and police officers work at a collapsed area after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Red Cross members arrive at Eloy Alfaro airport after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, in Manta April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja
People gather next to a collapsed house in Guayaquil on April 17, 2016. At least 41 people have been killed by the powerful earthquake that struck western Ecuador on Saturday and the toll will likely rise further, the country's Vice President Jorge Glas said. / AFP / JOSE SANCHEZ L (Photo credit should read JOSE SANCHEZ L/AFP/Getty Images)
View of rubble after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador on April 17, 2016. At least 77 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and a bridge and sending terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / JUAN CEVALLOS (Photo credit should read JUAN CEVALLOS/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - View of a fallen building after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador on April 17, 2016. At least 77 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and a bridge and sending terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / JUAN CEVALLOS (Photo credit should read JUAN CEVALLOS/AFP/Getty Images)
View of a damaged building after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador on April 17, 2016. At least 77 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck Ecuador, destroying buildings and a bridge and sending terrified residents scrambling from their homes, authorities said Sunday. / AFP / JUAN CEVALLOS (Photo credit should read JUAN CEVALLOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Vehicles from a car dealership hang on a precipice caused by an earthquake induced landslide in Portoviejo, Ecuador, Sunday, April 17, 2016. The strongest earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades flattened buildings and buckled highways along its Pacific coast, sending the Andean nation into a state of emergency. (AP Photo/Juan Fernando Molina)
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Survivors in the quake zone were receiving food, water and medicine from the government and scores of foreign aid workers, although Correa has acknowledged that bad roads delayed aid reaching some communities.

Correa's leftist government, facing mammoth rebuilding at a time of greatly reduced oil revenues for the OPEC country, has said it would temporarily increase some taxes, offer assets for sale and possibly issue bonds abroad to fund reconstruction. Congress will begin debate on the tax proposal on Tuesday.

Correa has estimated damage at $2 billion to $3 billion. Lower oil revenue has already left the country of 16 million people facing near-zero growth and lower investment.

The country's private banking association said on Saturday its member banks would defer payments on credit cards, loans and mortgages for clients in the quake zone for three months, to help reconstruction efforts.


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