It's been followed by over 130 aftershocks and is the worst earthquake to hit Ecuador since 1979. President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency, with the worst affected areas including the tourist hotspots of Pedernales, Comjimies and Guayaquil, a common departure point for travellers heading to the Galapagos Islands.

"There are villages that are totally devastated," Pedernales' mayor, Gabriel Alcivar, has said. "What happened here in Pedernales is catastrophic." The BBC has reported that in some areas people are using their bare hands to try to dig out survivors from the rubble, as they wait for the army troops and equipment that have been delayed by landslides.

International aid is beginning to arrive for those in affected areas, with the first coming from Venezuala and Mexico and food and essentials now being distributed.

A catastrophic earthquake has hit Ecuador, killing hundreds