Ecuador earthquake: Death toll rises to 233

At least 233 people have been confirmed dead after Ecuador was hit by its most powerful earthquake in decades.

Some 10,000 troops and 3,500 police are being deployed in the affected areas, as rescue operations got under way.

The magnitude-7.8 quake struck early on Saturday evening and was felt as far away as neighbouring Colombia.

Coastal areas in the north-west were closest to the epicentre and officials say the death toll is likely to rise as information begins to come in.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa gave the latest death toll on his twitter feedwhile flying back from a visit to Italy he cut short to deal with the disaster.

He has declared a state of emergency and earlier called on his country to be "calm and united"