Happy Monday, April 18th, to you. I'm Carl Azuz with your daily delivery of international current events and, of course, that includes what's happening in Ecuador and Japan.
People in several regions of western Ecuador are recovering from what one resident called the worst experience of life.A major 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday night and was strong enough to flatten homes, knock out power and buckle highways across the region.At least 238 people were killed, a number that the country's government expects will increase as rescuers searched through the rubble.Portable hospitals have been set up, thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed to affected areas and mobile phone companies are giving free text messages to help people locate and communicate with their loved ones.This was the deadliest earthquake to strike Ecuador since one hit in 1987.The country is located along the Ring of Fire.It's a horseshoe-shaped region around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world's earthquake and volcanic activity happens.
Japan sits on the other side of that ring, and the southwestern part of that country has been reeling from its own series of earthquakes.A strong magnitude 6.2 tremor struck the region last Thursday and then a major 7.0 quake hit on Saturday.Dozens of people were killed in both of them.And because the region has gotten 165 aftershocks so far, as well as bad weather and the threat of landslides, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says finding survivors is a race against the clock.The military has been called in to help people here, too, delivering food, blankets, first aid supplies.More than 760,000 homes don't have power, almost 400,000 don't have running water.And how some of these homes were constructed have made the difference in whether they're still standing.
So, we are in one of the harder hit areas of Kumamoto and the damage as a result of these two earthquakes really can be felt in very different ways, on the same street.So, look to my right here, you can see one of the houses that has no doubt been one of the harder hit.It is absolutely unlivable.The family live there frankly cannot return home unless they rebuild.And then you look here on the left side, my left there.You can see this house which sustained damage in its own right, but you can see that a family can-might return to this home to some point.And that really gives you an idea of how much of a rule infrastructure and building materials really play when it comes to earthquake damage.And so, this house on the right probably a little bit older, probably made of more brittle material and the house in the left a little bit newer and could handle the kind of force that we've seen from these two earthquakes.