The 7.8 magnitude quake that struck the nation on Saturday has left more than 350 people dead. Buildings and roads up and down the country's Pacific coast have been destroyed.
Thousands are homeless, and highways, air traffic control towers and buildings along the coast have collapsed. Rescue workers were working to find and aid survivors, while officials warned the general public of the perils of digging through the rubble.
Some of the hardest-hit areas in Ecuador are remote and impoverished. Coastal tourist destinations were the most devastated, but the damage spans vast regions of Ecuador. Over 230 aftershocks were felt, more than 100 miles from the epicenter.
The commercial area, basically the heart of the city, is absolutely destroyed.
The AP reports that there is a shortage of shelter in many earthquake-affected regions, leaving people sleeping outdoors. There are fears that even houses that are still standing might have been damaged and will later collapse.
Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, cut short a trip to the Vatican and flew to Portoviejo, one of the badly affected towns.
He spoke of the priority of finding survivors, the AP reports. Correa said the number of dead will increase as aid workers reach isolated areas, but he also emphasized that there's reason to believe many more survivors will be found.
Ecuadorean Vice President Jorge Glas has urged the people of Ecuador not to panic. He also exhorted them not to attempt to recover any belongings from collapsed buildings, saying the ruins are perilous and "life is more important."
The government has declared a state of emergency and is deploying army troops, firefighters and earth-moving equipment to search for survivors. However, access to the disaster zone has been hampered by landslides.
This earthquake follows closely after a series of strong earthquakes in Japan, a day earlier.