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Ecuador's Correa says thanks for domestic and international aid after earthquake

Ecuador’s worst earthquake in decades is known to have killed at least 480 people – the official toll given on Tuesday – but the number is expected

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Ecuador's Correa says thanks for domestic and international aid after earthquake

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Ecuador’s worst earthquake in decades is known to have killed at least 480 people – the official toll given on Tuesday – but the number is expected to rise.

More than 100 are missing after the 7.8 magnitude quake that struck on Saturday.

In the beach town of Pedernales excavators, dogs and bare hands have been used as emergency workers scramble through the rubble.

Visiting the worst-hit area, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa showed his appreciation for the relief effort.

“I would like to thank Ecuadorian businesses, state-owned or local, as well as the military, the police and private enterprises for their help. I should also thank the international companies that offer to send relief and equipment in the first place. Thank you very much,” he told reporters.

The president says the quake has cost up to three billion US dollars worth of damage and could knock two to three percentage points off growth.

Emergency workers have been praised for reaching the affected zones quickly but survivors in isolated areas have complained of lacking water, food and medicine.

Homeless victims of the quake have set up camps in coastal cities which were badly damaged.

Some 20,500 people are said to be staying in emergency shelters.