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Death toll from Ecuador earthquake tops 650

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Death toll from Ecuador earthquake tops 650
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Quito: Ecuador's government says the death toll from last week's devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake has risen to 654 with another 58 people missing.

The website of the secretariat for risk management yesterday said that 113 people had been rescued alive following the quake that flattened coastal towns and more than 25,000 people remained in shelters.

The death toll from Ecuador's quake has surpassed that of Peru's 2007 temblor, making it the deadliest quake in South America since one in Colombia in 1999 killed more than 1,000 people.

Hundreds of aftershocks have rattled Ecuador since the Saturday night quake.

President Rafael Correa has said the quake caused USD 3 billion in damage and warned that the reconstruction effort will take years. His administration is temporarily raising taxes to fund the recovery.

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