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  • Police officers carry a coffin in Pedernales, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador

    Police officers carry a coffin in Pedernales, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, April 18, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Dozens of bodies have yet to be buried because cemeteries are almost at their maximum capacity.

Ecuador's worst earthquake in nearly decade has killed more than 500 people, injured at least 4,000, flattened buildings and torn apart roads along the Pacific coast of the South American country.

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Local authorities have reported that in the badly damaged cities of Pedernales, Manta and Portoviejo dozens of bodies have not been buried because cemeteries are almost at full capacity.

"So far rescuers report that at least 169 bodies have been found under the rubble," said the Interior Minister Jose Serrano on Tuesday, adding that authorities are conducting relief work in order to prevent a health emergency.

Rescue teams from Latin America and beyond are digging through rubble trying to find survivors, but time is running out.

Ecuador's attorney general has ordered the delivery of coffins to families who lost their loved ones. Most of the bodies remain in stadiums and remote places to avoid a health emergency.

Meanwhile, on early Wednesday a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Esmeraldas at a shallow depth of 10 km, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

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