Ecuador hit by a new, magnitude 6.0 earthquake
Latest shock comes with over 150 still missing from April 16 quake
A powerful earthquake measuring 6.0 magnitude struck off Ecuador's disaster-stricken coast on Thursday, as survivors of an earlier deadly quake that killed 587 people clamoured for food, water and medicine in parts of the disaster zone.
The latest quake hit about 100 kilometres north-northwest of Portoviejo and at a depth of 10 kilometres, said the U.S. Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of damage and there was no tsunami warning.
President Rafael Correa said on Twitter that three aftershocks were registered on Thursday night, adding "have strength!"
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Saturday's deadly quake was a massive 7.8 magnitude.
"We're trying to survive. We need food," said Galo Garcia, a 65-year-old lawyer as he waited in line for water from a truck in beachside village of San Jacinto. "There's nothing in the shops. We're eating the vegetables we grow."
A crowd nearby chanted, "We want food."
Correa's socialist government, facing a mammoth rebuilding task at a time of greatly reduced oil revenues in the OPEC nation, said there was no lack of supplies, just problems with distribution that should be quickly resolved.
Some towns feel 'marginalized'
The government quickly moved supplies to the main towns and set up shelters for more than 25,000 people in soccer stadiums and airports, but shattered roads have impeded the operation.
On streets near Pedernales, one of the worst-hit towns, children from rural areas held signs begging for food. Many people left villages to seek help, and those who stayed behind felt the pinch.
"All of us here have been marginalized. The others are receiving things, but we're not," said Darwin Gachila, 33, as he cradled his baby daughter, flanked by his wife and two other children in the small village of Cojimies.
A government official at a food storage point outside the town of Pedernales asked a supplicant, Jose Gregorio Basulor, 55, to stay calm. "I can be patient but not the children!" he shouted back. "They are crying."
Interior Minister Jose Serrano, speaking from an aid convoy nearby, stressed that the government was focusing on house-by-house distribution to ensure no one was overlooked.
Ecuador's worst earthquake in nearly seven decades also injured 8,340 people, left 155 missing and damaged close to 2,000 buildings, according to the government. Scores of foreign aid workers and experts have arrived and 14,000 security personnel were keeping order, with only sporadic looting.
"There are rumours there's a shortage of water," Correa said late on Wednesday, responding to complaints about the aid operation. "We have plenty of water. The problem is distribution," he said.
Correa said the death toll would have been lower had Ecuadoreans respected stricter building regulations that were introduced after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed more than 300,000 people.
Stagnant water poses a threat
Ecuadoreans had a mixed reaction to tax increases and another measure to donate one day's salary to help relief work.
"Nobody likes paying taxes because even before the earthquake things were difficult," said student Isaac Andrade, 27, in the city of Guayaquil. "But I think it's consistent with the spirit of solidarity."
The government appealed for tourists to keep coming to fuel an industry that generated $1.7 billion last year. But visitors may be put off by health warnings from the quake zone.
One charity, CARE International, said there was an immediate threat of mosquito-borne diseases including the Zika virus and dengue fever.
"There is a lot of stagnant water which greatly increases the number of breeding sites for mosquitoes," said Lucy Harman, emergency team leader in Ecuador for CARE, which was supplying water purification tablets and temporary water tanks.
Rescuers were using face masks against the smell of decomposing bodies, while soldiers were vaccinated before being deployed into quake-hit areas.
The United Nations and partners were to launch an appeal on Friday to help an estimated 350,000 people in need of aid.