Death toll rises to 235 after powerful earthquake in Ecuador

The country's vice-president Jorge Glas has declared a state of emergency

earthquake, Ecuador,

Image: Patricio Ramos / AP/Press Association Images

An earthquake measuring 7.8 in magnitude has killed at least 235 people in Ecuador with hundreds of people left injured. A tsunami warning was previously issued but has since been lifted. 

Five helicopters and 80 buses are taking 4,000 police to the affected area, according to the country's home ministry. It's also reported that rescuers were struggling to reach survivors trapped in the rubble.

Authorities say the quake is the most powerful to hit the country since the 1970's. Officials say that the quake has caused "considerable damage" and the country's vice-president Jorge Glas has declared a state of emergency in the West of the country.

According to Ecuadorian paper El Universo, 588 people have been injured int he disaster, and it is expected that the death toll is likely to rise as a result of the fact that access to Pedernales, near where the epicentre of the quake hit, is not yet possible. 

The mayor of Pedernales, Gabriel Alcívar, spoke on the Teleamazonas station on Saturday night to say that the area needs a huge amount of rescuers, and that the numbers of dead and injured in the area were unknown due to the lack of resources.

Image: Jeff Castro / AP/Press Association Images

Six provinces (Guayas, Manabi, Santo Domingo, Los Rios, Esmeraldas and Galapagos) have all been declared in a state of emergency while a tsunami warning has also been issued in neighbouring Peru. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has stated that has mostly passed, however.

Tremors were felt in other neighbouring countries, including Colombia, but there have been no reports of damage from the country's capital Quito, which was over 170 kilometres away from the epicentre.

In a televised address, Glas said that 10,000 soldiers and 3,500 police officers have been deployed to the affected regions to help with the rescue effort.