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Number of people killed in Ecuador earthquake rises to at least 77, more than 500 injured, vice-president announces

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Ecuador earthquake of 7.8 magnitude kills dozens.

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has killed at least 77 people and injured more than 500, Vice-President Jorge Glas says.

The quake, Ecuador's largest since 1979, hit at 18:58 on Saturday (23:58 GMT) near the northern town of Muisne.
Widespread severe damage is reported, with a bridge destroyed as far south as Guayaquil about 300km (190 miles) away.

President Rafael Correa, who is flying back from a trip to Italy, has decreed a state of emergency.

He said: "This is a very painful test. I ask the country to be calm and united... Let's be strong; we will overcome this."

He added: "Roads and hospitals can be rebuilt; you cannot recover lost lives. That's what hurts the most."

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