The United Nations on Tuesday called on the world to support the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in Ecuador on April 16.

Diego Zorrilla, the UN's representative in Quito, said 73 million dollars is needed to help 350,000 survivors over the next three months. The earthquake claimed 655 lives and forced an estimated 29,000 people out of their homes and into temporary housing.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien pledged 7 million dollars from the UN emergency fund while visiting the affected areas last week.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also has started a campaign to collect 19 million dollars for victims in the South American country. About 3 million dollars have already been donated, said the regional coordinator of the ICRC, Walter Cotte.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has estimated that the reconstruction would cost 3 billion US dollars and take years. The sum is about 1.6 per cent of Ecuador's gross domestic product of 181 billion.

It is the worst natural disaster in Latin America since the earthquake in Haiti in of 2010, according to the United Nations.

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