SALT LAKE CITY — The number killed by Saturday's earthquake in Ecuador and its aftershocks grew Monday night to 413. Counted among them are a local LDS Church leader, his wife and his youngest daughter.
A total of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have died and five more are injured, according to a news release posted Monday on Mormon Newsroom's Ecuador page.
The release said a dozen LDS chapels sustained extensive damage in Saturday's major, 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which injured more than 2,000 people. Most of the 413 deaths were in and around the city of Portoviejo, NBC News reported.
Five of the six Latter-day Saints killed were members of the church's Portoviejo Stake, Monday's news release said. The release did not provide any other details about the deaths.
The sixth Mormon killed was a member of the faith's Manta Stake, where the release said five church members were injured.
A church spokeswoman said Sunday that all of the church's hundreds of missionaries in Ecuador were safe and accounted for.
Monday's release said church officials and members are focused on providing physical and emotional support to the victims of the earthquake.
"This is the best time and opportunity to demonstrate the kind of Christians we are," an unnamed local church leader said in the release. "This is the moment of empathy, to share, to mourn our dead, comfort their families, care for and heal the wounded, wipe away tears and start rebuilding our city and our lives. This is the time to do what Jesus expects us to do."
The LDS Church's Area Presidency, based in Lima, Peru, is coordinating the efforts of the faith's Welfare Department and Helping Hands volunteer program with civil defense authorities to provide humanitarian aid.
The U.S. State Department said one American is dead and Canada's prime minister said two Canadians were killed, NBC News reported.
Rescue efforts are still underway even as Ecuador was still shaking on Monday, the Associated Press reported. Ecuador’s Geophysics Institute said the country had experienced 230 aftershocks as of Sunday night, ranging in magnitude from 3.5 to 6.1.
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