A mother and her 12-year-old son from Quebec have been identified as the two Canadians who were among the hundreds of people killed in a massive earthquake in Ecuador Saturday night.
A spokesperson from Global Affairs Canada confirmed to Global News on Sunday the pair were from Quebec, but wasn’t able to release further information regarding the victims’ identities.
Television station TVA identified the victims as Jennifer Mawn and her son, Arthur Laflamme. The father, Pascal Laflamme and the couple’s daughter were slightly injured, TVA reported.
Global Affairs said officials have been in contact with the families and are offering support.
The quake had a recorded magnitude of 7.8, the strongest to hit Ecuador in decades, killing at least 272 and injuring more than 1,557 people.
President Rafael Correa said early Monday that the death toll would “surely rise, and in a considerable way.”
“The Ecuadorean spirit knows how to move forward, and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments,” Correa said.
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Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion expressed his condolences and told other Canadians in the South American country that the Canadian Embassy would provide assistance to those affected.
“I am saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life stemming from Saturday’s devastating earthquake near the central coast of Ecuador, which has already cost the lives of at least 233, including two Canadians,” he wrote in a statement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the scope of the disaster “shocking,” and expressed his condolences on Twitter.
The embassy in Quito, which was near the epicentre of the earthquake, can be reached at 593 (2) 245-5499.
Officials at the embassy are working closely with local officers to locate other Canadians in the country.
Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa has declared a national emergency, and officials said 10,000 armed forces had been deployed to help. In addition, 4,600 national police were sent to the towns near the epicentre.
With files from the Canadian Press, Andrew Russell