ecuador earthquake
A body is carried out of a collapsed building in Pedernales in Ecuador Henry Romero/Reuters

Rescue workers, friends and family continued the exhausting hunt for any remaining survivors as the death toll hit 570 in the wake of the devastating Ecuador earthquake. Hundreds of people are still missing following the disaster which hit the country on 16 April.

Thousands of others are camped out in the open air or in fragile makeshift shelters, after their homes were destroyed. They also live in fear of more tremors. There have been more than 540 aftershocks, including two close to the epicentre – near the coastal town of Muisne – which reached magnitudes of 6.1 and 6.3.

As rescuers search desperately for survivors, the nation is mobilising to stitch the country back together. Communication and power systems, roads and critical government and office buildings were left devastated.

Parts of the disaster zone remained in desperate need of drinking water. The country's bottlers have turned over their plants to the government, which has sent six mobile water purification systems to hard-hit Manabi province, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxfam are sending supplies, while the UN said it was preparing a "major airlift." The US has sent a planeload of supplies.

The Spanish Red Cross has estimated that up to 100,000 people would need assistance. The cost of rebuilding could reach $3bn (£2.1bn), President Rafael Correa said during a visit to the worst-affected region.

And still there are mountains of rubble to comb through for any remaining survivors. Deputy Interior Minister Diego Fuentes said 2,000 people had been reported missing since the quake struck, though another official estimated the missing as few as 230. Fuentes said only 300 of the thousands had been located. At least 4,500 have been injured.

Service dogs trained to hunt for people and mechanical diggers were being used to search for survivors. Not all rescuers were well equipped and some dug at rubble with their hands, shouting into crevasses in the hope of hearing some response, according to ABC News.

Some people were still being pulled from rubble alive while the smell of decaying bodies was filling the air in the worst-hit areas of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales, witnesses said.