Ecuador flood2
©Associated Press
Residents ride on a make-shift raft in a flooded street in Puerto Inca, Ecuador.

Ecuador has extended a state of emergency to the entire nation after torrential rains triggered floods and mudslides across the country. The move eases access to $25m (£12.7m) in emergency funds for repairs.

Nearly a month of flooding has claimed at least three lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The army has been put in charge of the emergency operation, which includes helping to evacuate the flooded areas and repair damaged infrastructure.

"Our first priority is to save lives," President Rafael Correa told reporters on Wednesday. "We have three dead and that hurts us in the soul," Mr Correa said. "Those [$25m in emergency funds] are sufficient, but if more is needed we have more emergency funds," he added.

Government figures suggest more than 50,000 people have been affected by the flooding. A state of emergency was declared in nine provinces on 31 January, but the incessant rains have led it to be extended to cover the country's 24 provinces.