Ecuador Slow Killers

Twin quakes take a brutal toll

The first reports were optimistic. After two earthquakes rocked the northeastern mountains of Ecuador on March 5, the destruction in the capital of Quito, just 50 miles from the epicenter, appeared to be minor despite the temblors' high register of 7 on the Richter scale. But as reports began trickling in from Napo province, the remote Amazon jungle region that was most severely affected, the picture changed. Last week it had become clear that the quakes, which were followed by hundreds of aftershocks, constituted one of the worst natural disasters ever in the tiny South American country. As estimates of the...