Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador

by International Medical Corps
Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador
Teams helped prevent an outbreak of disease
Teams helped prevent an outbreak of disease

International Medical Corps’ earthquake response in Ecuador concluded on July 31, and we have handed all of our water, sanitation and hygiene activities to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). International Medical Corps assisted approximately 9,860 people, helping to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease in the aftermath of the disaster.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ emergency efforts, please visit “A Healthier Future for South Sudan’s Families” project, where International Medical Corps is responding to the urgently needed care for those affected by recent conflict.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/a-healthier-future-for-families-in-south-sudan/

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador 

“At first they [International Medical Corps] came around asking where the most needs were. By the next week they came and built showers, latrines, and are currently putting up water tanks. Truly this is what we need. It is very good help because good health care begins with good hygiene. For me, this is incredible.” Dr. Carlos, a local physician and beneficiary, from Jama of Manabí province in Ecuador recalls.

Carlos speaks of our response following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, striking Ecuador on April 16, 2016. With more than 2,280 aftershocks, many coastal villages were devastated, with significant damage further inland, including collapsed buildings and destroyed roads. The Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency for six provinces, including the worst-affected coastal provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas. In all, there were 671 fatalities, 6,200 injuries, and the damage or destruction of 29,000 buildings.

The Government of Ecuador estimates that rebuilding Ecuador’s earthquake-damaged communities, repairing local infrastructure, and fully regaining economic productivity may take as long as three years. A total of 68,000 families—approximately 231,000 people—registered for government assistance through the Registro Único de Damnificados. The government has supported more than 10,470 affected families with food and rent support, and issued 9,300 bonds for housing reconstruction. Classes officially resumed on July 4, with an estimated 55,000 children returning to academic activity following the completion of 26 temporary education units in affected areas.

Humanitarian and disaster response organizations are currently handing over activities to sustainable country entities, including various government ministries and organizations with a long-term country presence. In Esmeraldas and Manabí, approximately 8,700 people remained in 26 official displacement sites as of late July, with thousands of others staying with host families and in spontaneous settlements. The Government of Ecuador and relief agencies have emphasized the importance of coordination to ensure that existing needs continue to be addressed as the emergency response phase comes to a close and recovery efforts move forward.

In support of the Government of Ecuador’s response efforts and in the wake of the April 16 quake, International Medical Corps deployed an emergency response expert to provide relief in the aftermath of the quake. Longtime First Responder, Dr. Robert Fuller, joined a team of 30 local medical professionals to assess the needs in the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. The local team of medical volunteers provided care to 158 patients and delivered basic medical supplies and medicines to health facilities in the days immediately following the quake.

In response to identified needs and working in coordination with government entities and other relief partners, we deployed an emergency response team to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance in quake-affected Manabí Province. Focusing efforts in the affected cantons, or “districts”, of Jama and Pedernales, we reached 32 sites, including 25 small villages, five displacement camps, and two spontaneous settlements, partnering with organizations like Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio to help ensure services reached those most in need.

Working hand-in-hand with community members, we constructed 76 showers and 30 latrines in Jama and Pedernales, benefitting approximately 3,380 people. Our teams also assembled 19 water tanks for the showers, along with handwashing stations. In order to ensure that affected households had access to soap, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary pads, and other essential hygiene items, we also delivered 2,051 hygiene kits. Water filters accompanied the kits when needed, with teams distributing 930 water filters to families. Our interventions helped to prevent the outbreak and spread of disease by restoring and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in the aftermath of the disaster.

With your generous and timely support and support from other donors, we reached some 9,860 men, women, and children – like Dr. Carlos – with relief services following the quake in Ecuador. We thank you for your continued support as we work to assist those in urgent need anywhere, anytime, no matter what the conditions.

Photos taken by Enrique Aviles. 

We worked hand-in-hand with community members
We worked hand-in-hand with community members
We reached approximately 9,860 people with support
We reached approximately 9,860 people with support
Activities spanned 32 sites
Activities spanned 32 sites
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Damage from the April 16 quake in Ecuador
Damage from the April 16 quake in Ecuador

On May 18, Ecuador experienced two sizeable aftershocks: a magnitude 6.7 during the early morning and a magnitude 6.8 during midday – both in the same region affected by the April 16 earthquake. 

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team traveled down Ecuador’s western coast reaching communities and sites already affected by the April 16 quake following the first aftershock. Our Emergency Response Team reported that while people remained calm, there were reports of some buildings collapsing and a few injuries in the towns of Pedernales and Jama. The main roads remained clear, and overall, there appears to have been no significant damage. 

Following the second aftershock, we received reports of additional damage in Pedernales, with assessments of the impact ongoing. International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team did confirm reports that electrical power is down in Manabí and Esmeraldas provinces.

April’s magnitude 7.8 quake was Ecuador’s worst natural disaster in decades, killing 661 and displacing more than 28,000. It has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks.

International Medical Corps is able to provide uninterrupted services, delivering urgently-needed hygiene kits, latrines, and implementing other water, sanitation and hygiene programs to those displaced by the series of earthquakes, helping to keep families and communities healthy as they recover. 

Thank you for your continued support as we help those in need recover and remain prepared and ready in the event of an emergency. 

We are reaching quake-affected communities
We are reaching quake-affected communities
Relief and recovery following the earthquake
Relief and recovery following the earthquake
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Emergency response team in Pedernales
Emergency response team in Pedernales

“We arrived in Jama next. Jama has mostly two- and three-story mixed construction of cement and wood. Nearly every building had gross evidence of damage or was collapsed… We continued on to Pedernales around 1 PM… There are many families camping right on the edge of the road.”  Dr. Rob Fuller, doctor and long-time first responder, wrote these words on April 22 after traveling through Manabí Province.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck off the western coast of Ecuador destroyed approximately 7,000 buildings, the majority in Manabí. Although robust response and recovery efforts are ongoing, assistance to people in more remote communities is reportedly moving more slowly. From Jama to Pedernales in Manabí, families are establishing spontaneous settlements, and the numbers of displaced persons in camps has slightly increased in the past week.

Many of these displaced people came from rural villages with limited access to services, particularly in water and sanitation. Government and humanitarian assessments of the earthquake’s impact indicate that an estimated 720,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance across the six affected provinces for which the Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency.

Today, International Medical Corps’ emergency response team is on the ground in Manabí Province—one of the most affected provinces—to support relief efforts led by the Ecuadorian government. In response to the needs our emergency response team identified at official displacement sites and surrounding areas in Pedernales, we are coordinating with Ecuador’s Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, the Ecuadorian military, the UN Children’s Fund, and local communities to deliver water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance at both official camps and spontaneous settlements. We are planning to build accessible and private bathing facilities and provide handwashing stations at 20 to 30 displacement sites around Pedernales.

International Medical Corps—with the support of local volunteers—has distributed 250 family hygiene kits to the four official camps in Pedernales, assisting a total of 1,250 people. The kits contain bath soap, laundry soap, buckets, towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, toilet paper, and razors, to support sanitation and hygiene. We aim to distribute hygiene kits to another 1,000 earthquake-affected families across Pedernales and Jama.

To assist small vendors who sell fresh produce in camps and the spontaneous settlements, the emergency response team will provide tailored hygiene kits that include materials for washing food with safe water in order to help limit the spread of disease. In order to maximize the impact of these efforts, International Medical Corps will coordinate with the Ministry of Public Health to provide hygiene promotion campaigns that improve awareness of good hygiene and sanitation practices.

We at International Medical Corps thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your continued support as we coordinate with the Ecuadorian government, local authorities, community leaders, and other humanitarian actors to address needs assessed by our emergency response team and first responders, like Dr. Rob Fuller, and experienced by the men, women, and children affected by the quake in Ecuador.

Provision of hygiene kits for affected families
Provision of hygiene kits for affected families
Working with local volunteers to assess needs
Working with local volunteers to assess needs
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International Medical Corps is helping deliver emergency medical services to survivors of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador on April 16. Longtime First Responder Dr. Robert Fuller is on the ground and working with a team of local volunteer medical professionals to deploy at least four mobile medical teams to provide care in affected areas and provide assistance as needed to damaged hospitals and health facilities.

Dr. Fuller is conducting rapid assessments in some of the most affected areas to identify needs in preparation for the arrival of a mobile medical team shortly thereafter. The team has already assessed the situation in Manabí province, one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake, where several health facilities are reportedly operating with limited services because of partial damage and lack of electricity and water.  The team is now in Portoviejo en route to Pedernales, a town in Manabí province where the earthquake destroyed more than 500 buildings.

“International Medical Corps stands with the people of Ecuador following this tragedy, and we are deploying additional staff to scale up our support for earthquake relief efforts,” said Chris Skopec, Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response at International Medical Corps. “We are committed to supporting the Government of Ecuador and our local partners to deliver medical care and other relief to survivors as well as work with communities to rebuild and recover.”

The worst earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades has killed more than 570 people and left 7,000 others injured. Some 155 people are official registered as missing, while up to 1,700 people reportedly remain unaccounted for. As of April 20, the Government of Ecuador documented that more than 1,100 buildings were destroyed and another 800 were damaged. More than 530 aftershocks have been recorded since April 16, including ones that were 6.1 and 6.0 in magnitude. 

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your continued support as we work to reach those in need with medical care following the earthquake. 

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The worst earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades has killed more than 400 people and injured at least 4,000, with figures expected to rise in the days to come. An additional 200 people are reported missing and the national government has declared a state of emergency for the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Ríos, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas, and Santo Domingo. 

In support of the Government of Ecuador’s response efforts, International Medical Corps has deployed an emergency response expert to help provide relief in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the country on April 16. Longtime First Responder Dr. Robert Fuller, who will arrive in country with much-needed wound and fracture care supplies, will join a team of local medical professionals to assess needs in Portoviejo and Esmeralda, two of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake.

The team will work to quickly identify the best ways International Medical Corps can provide support to local organizations and health facilities to help them recover. The team also plans to visit the Naval Hospital in Esmeralda, where Dr. Fuller has often worked as a visiting physician, to identify opportunities to support the facility.  International Medical Corps plans to deploy additional staff in the days to come as needs are identified.

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your timely and generous support to help reach those in need of medical and health-related care in areas hardest hit by the devastating quake. We will continue to update you on our response. 

 

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International Medical Corps

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website:
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Development Office
Los Angeles, CA United States

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