Ecuador earthquake leaves mother and son from Quebec dead

A mother and her 12-year-old son from Quebec were among the more than 350 people killed in the weekend earthquake in Ecuador, according to Global Affairs Canada.

Death toll from weekend disaster rises to at least 350, another 2,700 people injured

Jennifer Mawn, left, and 12-year-old Arthur Laflamme died in Saturday's earthquake in Ecuador, while Mawn's husband, Pascal Laflamme, and the Quebec couple's daughter survived but were slightly hurt. (Jennifer Mawn/Facebook)

A mother and her 12-year-old son from Quebec were among the more than 350 people killed in Saturday's earthquake in Ecuador, according to Global Affairs Canada.

Jennifer Mawn and Arthur Laflamme were with family members inside their apartment when the earth began to shake, causing the ceiling to collapse, a family friend told Radio-Canada.

The father, Pascal Laflamme, and the couple's daughter were slightly injured.

In all, Ecuador's president said Monday, the death toll has risen to at least 350, and is sure to go much higher. Another 2,700 people were injured.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Ecuador on Saturday night. (Dolores Ochoa/Associated Press)

The Quebec family moved to Ecuador last fall. 

Global Affairs Canada told CBC News it was not able to release further details for privacy reasons and out of respect for the victims' families.

The earthquake, which reached 7.8 magnitude, rocked the Latin American country on Saturday night. 

'The biggest earthquake I ever felt'
Zachary Robichaud, a Quebecer who has lived in Ecuador for nine years, said he put his two children, Michel and Zara, in the tub to keep them safe until the earthquake ended. (Submitted by Zachary Robichaud)

"It's probably the biggest earthquake I ever felt," said Zachary Robichaud,  a former Montrealer who was in Ibarra, 115 kilometres northeast of Quito, when it struck. He is owner of the Casa Quebecua restaurant in the country's capital of Quito.

Robichaud said he put his two children in the tub to keep them safe until the shaking stopped. Everyone in his family is unhurt.

Robichaud, who has lived in Ecuador for nine years, said his restaurant suffered little to no damage, but "a lot of people are in a bad situation right now.

"The whole country is in a state of emergency," he said.

Robichaud told CBC News that several country houses were damaged and businesses had to be evacuated.

"We really felt it. It gave us a good scare," said Quebecer Louis St-Jacques, a construction manager in the port town of Manta, Ecuador. 

It's probably the biggest earthquake I ever felt.- Zachary Robichaud , Ecuador restaurant owner formerly from Montreal

St-Jacques told Radio-Canada he felt less severe aftershocks later in the night. 

An initial tsunami warning was lifted. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion extended their condolences to loved ones of the victims.

"Canadian officials at our embassy in Quito are reaching out to Canadian citizens in-country and providing assistance to Canadians affected by the earthquake," Dion added in a statement.

Global Affairs Canada is advising against non-essential travel to the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo on the northwestern coast of Ecuador.

 

With files from Raffy Boudjikanian, Radio-Canada and The Associated Press

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