Ecuador death toll tops 500, Correa ponders financing

The death toll from Ecuador's weekend earthquake surpassed 500 and rescue efforts ebbed on April 20 as the traumatized Andean nation braced itself for long and costly rebuilding.

To help fund the multibillion-dollar reconstruction of homes, roads and buildings in the devastated Pacific coast region, Ecuador will temporarily increase some taxes and may issue new bonds on the international market, a somber President Rafael Correa said.

"It's hard to imagine the magnitude of the tragedy. Every time we visit a place, there are more problems," he said, fresh from touring the disaster zone.

ecuador death toll tops 500, correa ponders financing hinh 0
In a nationally televised address on April 20 night, Correa announced several short-term tax changes to help Ecuador recover.

He decreed a 2-point increase in the Valued Added Tax for a year, as well as a "one-off 3% additional contribution on profits," although the fine print was not immediately clear. The VAT tax is currently 12%.

Another quake, of 6.2 magnitude, shook the coast before dawn on April 20. It terrified inhabitants and briefly hindered rescuers searching for the dwindling number of survivors from April 16's bigger 7.8 quake, which killed 525 people, according to a central government tally.


Related news