72-Year-Old Man Found Alive Under Rubble 13 Days After Devastating Ecuador Earthquake

A 72-year-old man survived being buried in rubble for 13 days after becoming trapped following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Ecuador. The man, Manuel Vasquez, was found by a team of Venezuelan workers dispatched to the devastated country to help with rescue and cleaning up. The man was found buried under the rubble in a fishing canton called Jaramijo, located in western Ecuador.

The Daily Mail reports an incredible story of survival involving a 72-year-old man from Ecuador. The man was in the fishing canton of Jaramijo when the magnitude-7.8 earthquake ripped through the region on April 16, 2016, causing massive damage in its wake. The earthquake is believed to have claimed the lives of at least 654 people, and Manuel Vazquez could have easily been 655 if it weren’t for a team of Venezuelan workers that heard a strange noise coming from below the rubble as they did a risk assessment of the region.

The man was discovered in the collapsed building alive despite being trapped for 13 days amidst the devastation. After spending nearly two weeks in the rubble, the man was pulled to safety and was determined to be suffering from a host of medical problems including chronic kidney failure, urinary tract obstruction, dehydration, and malnutrition. As a result of the horrifying ordeal, Vazquez has lost several of his toes due to necrosis that was diagnosed in both his ankles. However, the situation could have been much worse, as the aging man was the last earthquake victim to be pulled from the devastation alive.

According to ABC, Red Cross Ecuador claims that the devastation in the area is widespread, and that they currently have a team of 1,200 volunteers helping with rescue efforts, clean up and medical care for the injured. Additionally, it was reported that the Ecuador’s Risk Management agency is tracking 10,000 armed forces personnel deployed to help people in the coastal areas.

The Washington Post previously reported on another dramatic rescue from a collapsed shopping center. Over 32 hours after the earthquake leveled the shopping center, rescue crews pulled three people from the rubble. The suspenseful moment was captured on tape, and shows rescue teams cutting a large hole in a concrete wall before pulling a woman out to the applause of firefighters. The three people survived the horrific building collapse after becoming trapped in an area between the floor and roof.

In addition to the 654 reported deaths from the earthquake, 12,492 people were injured and over 26,000 people lost homes, and were forced to move into shelters. Some of the hardest hit areas were beautiful, coastal towns known to support much of the country’s tourism. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa made the announcement following the earthquake devastation that taxes would be increased in a bid to rebuild the nation.

“Rebuilding the affected areas will take years and cost millions of dollars. The short term costs are significant.”

The tax increase was part of a measure that includes “a 12-month increase in sales tax to 14 percent from 12 percent, a one-time levy for people with assets over $1 million, a one-off 3 percent tax on company profits and sliding-scale contribution from people earning more than $1,000 per month.” In addition to raising funds via a tax increase, Ecuador has also asked for an emergency credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help with immediate needs. Correa has estimated the devastation in Ecuador as $3 billion, which equates to 3 percentage points of the country’s entire gross domestic product. Ecuador has also allegedly garnered funds from tapping into oil-backed loans from China.

What do you think about the amazing rescue of the 72-year-old man an astonishing 13 days after the devastating earthquake? Do you think the coastal region of Ecuador will fully recover from the costly quake?

[Photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo]