Traumatized Ecuadoreans slept amid rubble while rescuers dug for survivors on Monday after an earthquake smashed the Andean nation's coastal region, killing at least 272 people and flattening resort towns.
Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake ripped apart buildings and roads, knocked out power, and injured at least 2,068 people in the largely poor Andean country.
In the devastated beach town of Pedernales, shaken survivors curled up for the night on mattresses or plastic chairs next to the rubble of their homes. Soldiers and police patrolled the hot, dark streets while pockets of rescue workers plowed on.
Late on Sunday, firefighters entered a partially destroyed house to search for three children and a man apparently trapped inside, as a crowd of 40 gathered in the darkness to watch.
"My little cousins are inside, before there were noises, screams. We must find them," pleaded Isaac, 18, as the firemen combed the debris.
Tents sprung up in the town's still-intact stadium to store bodies, treat the injured, and distribute water, food, and blankets to survivors. People wandered around with bruised limbs and bandaged cuts, while patients with more serious injuries were evacuated to hospitals.
Leftist President Rafael Correa, who cut short a visit to Italy, surveyed the damage in the coastal province of Manabi on Sunday night.
"Ecuador has been hit tremendously hard," Correa said in a televised address, his voice breaking as he said he feared the death toll would rise from what he called a tragedy.
While the full extent of the damage remains unclear, the disaster will likely worsen the OPEC nation's economic performance this year.
The small, oil-dependent country has already been battered by the tumble in crude prices.
Its crucial energy industry appears largely intact after the quake, though its main refinery of Esmeraldas was closed as a precaution. However, exports of bananas, flowers, cacao, and fish could be slowed by ruined roads and delays at ports.
The quake could also alter political dynamics ahead of next year's presidential election.
About 230 aftershocks have rattled survivors, who huddled in the streets, worried the flow of tremors could topple their already cracked homes.
"We're scared of being in the house," said Yamil Faran, 47, surrounded by some 30 people in the middle of a street in the city of Portoviejo. "When this improves and the aftershocks stop we're going to see if we can repair it."
Some 130 inmates in Portoviejo took advantage of the quake's destruction and chaos to climb over the collapsed walls of the low-security El Rodeo prison. More than 35 prisoners had been recaptured, authorities said on Sunday night.
About 13,500 security personnel were mobilized to keep order. Beyond a handful of unconfirmed reports of theft and looting, the country appeared calm.
Some $600 million in credit from multilateral lenders was immediately activated for the emergency, the government said.
Domestic aid funds were being set up and Venezuela, Chile and Mexico were sending personnel and supplies. The Ecuadorean Red Cross mobilized more than 800 volunteers and staff and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was sending a team from Colombia.
Two Canadians were among the dead. Jennifer Mawn, 38, and her 12-year-old son Arthur, died when the roof of their coastal residence collapsed.
Residents on the Galapagos islands far off Ecuador's coast and home to numerous rare species, said they had not been affected.
The tremor followed two large and deadly quakes that struck Japan since Thursday. Both countries are located on the seismically active "Ring of Fire" that circles the Pacific, but according to the U.S. Geological Survey large quakes separated by such distances would probably not be related.
The Japanese share market fell more than 3 percent on Monday after a series of earthquakes measuring up to 7.3 magnitude struck a southern manufacturing hub, killing at least 42 people and forcing major companies to close factories.
About 30,000 rescue workers were scouring the rubble for survivors and handing out food to those unable to return to their homes following the quakes which struck Kyushu island from Thursday. The biggest hit near Kumamoto city early on Saturday.
"There are still missing people. We want to make further efforts to rescue and save people and prioritize human lives," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament, adding he aimed to declare the region a disaster zone to free up reconstruction funds.
The Nikkei stock index ended 3.4 percent lower, hit by a stronger yen and as investors weighed the impact of the disaster on manufacturers' supply chains and insurers.
Factories for major manufacturers including Toyota, Sony and Honda were closed, disrupting supply chains around the country.
Japan's atomic regulator declared three nuclear plants in the region safe, giving a degree of comfort to a country deeply scarred by the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 that was sparked by an earthquake and tsunami.
All commercial flights to the damaged Kumamoto airport were canceled and the bullet train service to the region was suspended.
Food was in short supply as roads remained cut off by landslides. Evacuees made an SOS signal out of chairs at a school playground, hoping to catch the attention of supply helicopters, Japanese media reported.
"Yesterday, I ate just one piece of tofu and a rice ball," said the mayor of one of the areas affected. "What we're most worried about now is food."
Of more than 500 quakes hitting Kyushu since Thursday, more than 70 have been at least a four on Japan's intensity scale, strong enough to shake buildings.
The Kumamoto region is an important manufacturing hub and home to Japan's only operating nuclear station.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government would "take all the necessary measures" to support companies affected by the disaster and the economy more broadly, including tapping into reserve funds of 350 billion yen ($3.24 billion).
Abe said a sales tax increase next year would go ahead barring a financial crisis or major natural disaster, without elaborating on whether the quakes qualified as such a disaster.
On the stock market, Sony Corp and Toyota Motor led the sharp falls among manufacturers, dropping 6.8 percent and 4.8 percent respectively. Nissan Motor and Honda Motor both lost about 3 percent. Insurers and utilities were also sold, with nuclear plant operator Kyushu Electric Power slumping nearly 8 percent.
Toyota said it would suspend production at plants across Japan after the quakes disrupted its supply chain.
Electronics giant Sony said its Kumamoto image sensors plant would remain suspended. One of the company's major customers for the sensors is Apple. Honda said production at its motorcycle plant in southern Japan would remain suspended through Friday.
The Kumamoto government said 42 people had been killed and nine were missing.
Thirty three people have been confirmed dead in Saturday's quake and nine in the smaller tremor just over 24 hours earlier. The government said about 190 of the injured were in serious condition and some 110,000 people had been displaced.
Rescuers digging with their bare hands dragged some elderly survivors, still in pyjamas, out of the rubble and onto makeshift stretchers made of tatami mats.
"We can't take a bath, we don't have any clothes to change into - we just have what we ran out in - and it's taking a long time for goods to get here," a woman at one evacuation center told TBS television.
Public broadcaster NHK showed footage of forests and rice fields torn apart by the quake, saying one 50 km (31 miles) strip shifted almost 2 meters (6 feet) sideways.
Quakes are common in Japan, part of the seismically active "Ring of Fire" which sweeps from the South Pacific islands, up through Indonesia, Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coast of North, Central and South America.
At the other end of the ring this weekend, Ecuador's biggest earthquake in decades killed at least 262 people, caused devastation in coastal towns and left an unknown number trapped in ruins.
A massive 9 magnitude quake and tsunami in northern Japan in March 2011 caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, shutting down the nuclear industry for safety checks and sending radiation spewing across the countryside.
Nearly 20,000 people were killed in the 2011 tsunami.