Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake

by IsraAID
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Emergency Response to the Ecuador Earthquake
Implementing NUF to 400 people in San Vicente
Implementing NUF to 400 people in San Vicente

From October 11th - Your donation will be 100% matched by GlobalGiving

Thank you for your continued support! By donating now, your contribution will help make a long-term impact on earthquake affected communities in Ecuador.

October 16th will mark six months after the devastating earthquake, yet Ecuador continues to be in a state of emergency. Over 380.000 people continue to be affected by the consequences of the earthquake; more than 35.000 houses are deemed inhabitable, 7880 people live in governmental-run refugee camps, and almost 11.000 people live in spontaneous and informal refugee sites lacking basic utilities which critically compromises the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) circumstances. These numbers continue to increase due to the constant aftershocks – since April 16th there have been 2,220 aftershocks, of which 45 were stronger than 5 on the Richter scale.

Therefore, rebuilding efforts continue to be very needed and essential, particularly in the sectors of protection, livelihood and shelter.These three sectors have been identified by the various UN agencies as insufficiently addressed and co-dependent on one another for improvement; without a steady income, people cannot rebuild their homes, they cannot move out of the refugee sites, and will therefore continue to be exposed to protection hazards. Especially vulnerable groups such as women, children, and elderly people living in spontaneous and informal refugee sites and rural areas are at high risk. The earthquake also took a great toll on Ecuador’s economy, for that reason Ecuador continues to heavily rely on international relief efforts.

Since its initial Emergency Response Mission, IsraAID has supported the affected communities by providing thousands of people with clean water, raising awareness about crucial issues, and building capacity to make communities more resilient.  So far IsraAID provided over 1800 people with psychosocial support, almost 800 people with medical assistants, 10 families with a home, 400 children with back-to-school kits, 250 families with hygiene kits, 150 women with protection kits, and 6 communities with permanent and sustainable water solutions. Still this is not enough, many more people are in need of similar support. Our goal is to continue supporting Ecuador in its rehabilitation efforts and create a long-term recovery strategy. Through coordinating and engaging with local Ecuadorean authorities and international response teams, we aim to continue sharing our extensive expertise and knowledge in the sectors of WASH, MHPSS and Protection.

This is an overview of our main achievements

766 patients have received medical assistance from our Medical Emergency Relief Team

1843 people have received psychosocial support

619 families were provided with clean water during the emergency response, benefiting approximately 2400 people

252 hygiene kits were distributed, benefiting approximately 1000 people

10 shelters were distributed, benefiting 10 teachers and their families

67 beds were distributed, benefiting 67 teachers

400 back to school kits were distributed

150 protection kits for women in the informal refugee site of Maria Auxiliadora

1755 people now continuous access to clean water after implementing 6 water filtration systems in the rural areas of San Vicente


Protection Kits

IsraAID team has assembled and distributed 150 protection kits to women and girls of the Maria Auxiliadora neighbourhood,located in the marginalized urban area of Bahía de Caráquez. The earthquake has heavily affected the neighbourhood, destroying 80% of the houses. The destroyed houses have been replaced by various temporary structures, turning the neighbourhood into an informal refugee camp hosting around 120 families. Maria Auxiliadora was an impoverished neighbourhood even before the earthquake, suffering from high crime rates, violence and drug abuse – especially the female residences of the neighbourhood were and at risk of harassment, abuse and violence. Following the earthquake and emergency situation, this vulnerability has only increased, in particular the vulnerability to gender-based violence (GBV). In order to mitigate further GBV risks, IsraAID distributed protection kits that included relevant items such as; a solar powered flashlight, whistles, and a ‘route to assistance’ developed by the Ministry of Justice, containing relevant information on gender-based violence during emergencies and how to access assistance. IsraAID also provided information on gender-based violence services before distribution to ensure that GBV survivors are connected to critical care and support. The distribution was also accompanied by discussion; information sharing and awareness raising on the topic of GBV in order to further understand concerns and needs of the female residence of the neighbourhood.  In order to map the female population and prioritize vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, female-headed households and disabled women, IsraAID worked in close collaboration with the organizational leaders of the neighbourhood and the Ministry of Health. Due to the rising numbers of ZIKA infections – the protection kits also included a mosquito repellent suitable for pregnant women.

NUF implementation

IsraAID is implementing ‘safe water’ programs in 6 identified communities, villages, and refugee camps that were heavily affected by the earthquake and are in immediate need for WASH solutions. Especially in the rural areas, there is a dire need for clean drinking water – families are forced to purchase drinking water by the bottle, costing them up to $30 a month, often an unaffordable expense. IsraAID will implement another 5 NUF water filtration systems, reaching over 1450 people with clean water. Through a holistic approach, the program will introduce a simple and effective technological WASH solution to provide immediate and sustainable response to the dire need of clean water. IsraAID believes in the implementation of holistic programs as a key component for success and integration of technologies within communities. The introduction of water filtration systems will be accompanied by trainings for proper system maintenance and safe water storage, since filtrated water has no residual disinfection effect. Safe sanitation and hygiene promotion are key components of preventing water borne disease outbreaks and community resilience. IsraAID aims to implement 35 more water filtration systems in the counties of Chone and Sucre providing over 7000 people permanently with clean drinking water.  

Thank you again for all your crucial support! 

Implementation of NUF in Palma Real
Implementation of NUF in Palma Real
Implementation of NUF in Palma Real
Implementation of NUF in Palma Real
Implementation of NUF in La Humedad, San Vicente
Implementation of NUF in La Humedad, San Vicente
Distribution Protection Kits in Maria Auxiliadora
Distribution Protection Kits in Maria Auxiliadora
Ecuadorean Ministry of Risk, Jorge Martinez
Ecuadorean Ministry of Risk, Jorge Martinez
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Medical Team
Medical Team

On April 16th 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the Ecuadorean coastal town of Muisne, rapidly followed by 7.9 and 7.3 magnitude tremors, the first of more than 2,000 aftershocks more than 40 of which were 5.0  magnitude, that have struck the north-western coast of this small South American country. The violent earthquake left a trace of destruction along the coastal line - cracking open highways, tearing apart houses, schools and hospitals. Following the destruction, a state of emergency was declared for the provinces of Esmeralda, Los Rios, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, and Santo Domingo as the death toll climbed to around 700. The earthquake affected more than 230,000 people; 8,679 people have moved into formal refugee camps, 11.146 have been displaced to informal housing, 35,198 houses and buildings have been deemed inhabitable, and 21,823 jobs have been lost. 

IsraAID’s Emergency Relief Team was deployed only 4 days after the earthquake to offer relief aid, medical and psychosocial support, water solutions, and support with the long-term response strategy to the affected population in the Manabí province. The mission included veteran aid workers, a medical contingent, a psychosocial team, and a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) team. The first few days of the disaster were crucial towards minimizing its long-term destructive effects. Beyond that, as part of IsraAID's core emphasis on long-term recovery, the team has coordinated and engaged with local authorities and international response teams to build the long-term recovery strategy, and share it’s extensive expertise and knowledge in the WASH and MHPSS sectors.

Medical Emergency Relief Team

Upon arrival, IsraAID’s Medical Emergency Relief Team set up a field hospital in the heavily struck village of Canoa in the Manabí province. The nearest hospital in Bahia collapsed and was not operable; as a result there was an urgent need for medical assistance and provision of medications. The medical relief team, consisting of 2 doctors, 3 nurses and 1 midwife, worked around the clock to attend to the hundreds of patients that came to seek medical attention, often travelling from remote rural areas. Aside from the field hospital, the Medical Emergency Relief team also operated a mobile clinic, which aimed at reaching rural and remote communities that had not received any medical aid since the disaster. Over a 3-week period of time, the medical relief team was able to treat almost 800 patients, consisting for the majority out of vulnerable groups such as children, women, and elderly patients 


Mental Health and Psychosocial Team

The earthquake has left a severe psychological and physical mark on the affected communities of Ecuador. Immediately after the earthquake many families fled their homes, leaving one representative to guard what was left of their belongings. Upon return, they found their homes destroyed, their cities devastated, and a great loss of lives and belongings. A large percentage of the population reflected fear and anxiety; many suffer from lack of sleep and panic attacks. For many, symptoms that were present before the earthquake have turned into chronic symptoms. In response to these issues, IsraAID’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Team worked for 5 weeks throughout the Manabí province, providing over 1800 people mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS). IsraAID’s MHPSS activities focused on preventing trauma and secondary trauma through conducting immediate training in Psychological First Aid (PFA), self-care and psycho education for the affected communities, service providers and first responders working with families affected by the earthquake.  

The two delegations of IsraAID’s Psychosocial team have given workshops and lectures of psychosocial first aid, self-care, stress management and relaxation techniques to the affected communities and refugee camps, first responders such as police officers and soldiers, school teachers, professors of the faculties of Medicine, Nursing, Psychology and Social Work at various universities working in the affected region, and other local NGO’s. Many participants testified that the only time they were provided with such support was through these sessions offered by IsraAID. The goal of these activities is to build community and personal resilience and to develop a coping mechanism in order to mitigate both the current trauma and be more prepared for future-crisis.

First Responders

IsraAID's psychologists, Lea, facilitated psychosocial activities to Ecuadorian soldiers that assisted the affected population during the emergency state in the Manabí Province. The soldiers were extremely cooperative, opening up and sharing the stories of the atrocities they had encountered in weeks since the earthquake. Lea also facilitated similar workshops for the police, she shared her experience after one of the workshops: "They looked frozen, and their eyes were red from working long hours. They seemed exhausted and uninterested, at first, but once they began to open up and were asked to draw a happy memory, they became youthful and their mood changed from stress to relaxation, which allowed them to open up about their horrifying moments of the earthquake. One policeman shared he saw an older lady who was holding her dying son. It was too late and there was nothing he could do to save the boy. Another policemen shared he saw a man beneath two floors of rubble whom they could not help in time. One officer shared: "It felt like the end of the world, as I looked up and saw my entire world falling down- like in a movie." IsraAID understands the challenges a first responder can experience during such traumatic events, and provides a safe space for recognition, counselling, sharing and support.

School Teachers

IsraAID’s team of psychologists also provided psychosocial support to teachers returning to work in the towns of Pedernales and Jama. Both the teachers from the public school and the private schools felt unprepared to start class again, merely 3 weeks after the earthquake. IsraAID's experts provided the tools to help teachers make their way back into the continuation of their lives, their careers, and their responsibilities as role models for their students by coping with what they had gone through, practicing self-care and finding strength in sharing and supporting each other as a group.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

IsraAID’s WASH Team arrived to the Manabí Province to find critically compromised WASH circumstances. For those who live in remote areas, access to water was completely cut off. The water infrastructure was severely damaged and water reservoirs, tubes, and pumps have collapsed. Communities that depended on rainwater harvesting were left with no roofs and water catchment areas. Water trucking system that operated before the earthquake in areas where no water delivery infrastructure existed, was terminated due to the inaccessibility to some villages - main routes were closed due to broken terrain, landslides, and flooding. These communities depend on this system and have to purchase water every 8 to 10 days. Since the earthquake these villages are reached every 20 days or more. In the urban areas, due to the destructions of homes, schools, churches, and hospitals, people sporadically set up temporary tent camps. These camps lacked basic infrastructure and facilities such as toilets and showers. The absence of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems prevents the practice of basic hygiene. Due to these compromised hygiene practices and an absence of sanitary solutions, there is a large-scale risk for the outbreak of disease. Additionally, there is a severe lack in the provision of sufficient safe drinking water; therefore, families are often left without water for days and are forced to purchase water, if funds allow, with the miniscule amount of savings they have left.

In response to this situation, IsraAID’s team distributed safe drinking water through a mobile water filtration system, reaching approximately 2400 people. Furthermore, IsraAID’s WASH team prepared and distributed 252 gender-sensitive hygiene kits to unofficial refugee camps and affected communities. Working in collaboration with the organizational leaders of the camps and communities, IsraAID delivered the kits tent-by-tent and house-by-house to ensure each family was reached. The hygiene kits contained essential items such as soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste and brushes, women’s sanitary products and other valuable hygiene items. The kits, apart of the obvious purposes of promoting a hygienic life style and minimizing the potential spread of disease, also serve as means to assist people in the camps to live in dignity and care for themselves.

Shelters + Back to School Kits

IsraAID assisted the Ecuadorian people, delivering and constructing shelters and beds for teachers in the devastated towns of Pedernales and Jama. Most of the teachers live outside of the towns, and have to travel a long distance to teach their students. Before the earthquake, most of them rented an apartment in town and traveled back home only during weekends. Since the earthquake, they were struggling to go back to work, as there was no place for them in the devastated towns. Moreover, due to the traumatic event, they do not want to be away from their families. IsraAID donated 10 shelters and 67 beds and mattresses to help some of the teachers in need to stay united with their families while going back to teaching and supporting their students in school. IsraAID’s team also assisted students in the devastated counties of Jama and Pedernales in going back to school. IsraAID delivered 400 school kits to students containing notebooks, pens, colors and workbooks for the teachers to work on with the children, so that they can focus on expressing their feelings and coping with the traumatic event through the children's eyes.  

Main achievements: 

766 patients have received medical assistance from our Medical Emergency Relief Team

1843 people have received psychosocial support

619 families were provided with clean water, benefiting approximately 2400 people

252 hygiene kits were distributed, benefiting approximately 1000 people

10 shelters were distributed, benefiting 10 teachers and their families

67 beds were distributed, benefiting 67 teachers

400 back to school kits were distributed

Total: 7135 unique individuals have been reached through IsraAID’s relief efforts. 

Program Continuation: 

Based on IsraAID’s observations, further humanitarian and recovery assistance should be provided in the areas of Psychosocial Support, Protection, and WASH reaching population groups in the affected provinces, both in rural and urban areas as well as formal and informal refugee camps. IsraAID intends to implement programs in these sectors, addressing the needs of rural communities and vulnerable populations and empowering them in the rehabilitation phase, and working towards a more sustainable life. In its latest report, dated July 28th, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also pushes for continuous re-evaluation of response and recovery strategy due to the constant aftershocks that are resulting in more and more structural damage and psychological trauma.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programs

In its report OCHA stresses that there continues to be a dire need for mental health and psychosocial support. Due to untreated trauma and the continuing aftershocks, there is an urgent need for an increase of psychosocial support programs for the affected population - especially service providers such as health staff and teachers (a population that continues to show high symptoms of stress). Moreover, Ecuador sits on the so-called 'ring of fire' – an arc of high seismic activity that extends around the Pacific Ocean - this calls for further support and better preparedness for future disasters. In response to these needs, IsraAID is currently developing a long-term plan to provide psychosocial support for the families of the victims and provide local officials, social workers, community mobilizers and NGO staff with additional trainings in the field of protection and trauma care in order to build their capacity to cope not only with the current trauma, but with any future disasters.

Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programs

Three months after the earthquake there is still a great need for immediate and sustainable water solutions. The provision of minimum standards for water, sanitation and hygiene in many communities and refugee camps is challenging due to the high geographical dispersion, especially in rural areas. The poor water quality also remains a challenge, and proper management of water and sanitation must be increased and strengthened to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases such as Zika. In response to these needs, IsraAID aims to implement ‘safe water’ programs in identified communities, villages, and refugee camps that were heavily affected by the earthquake and are in immediate need for WASH solutions. Through a holistic approach, the intended program will introduce a simple and effective technological WASH solution to provide immediate and sustainable response to the dire need of clean water. IsraAID believes in the implementation of holistic programs as a key component for success and integration of technologies within communities. The introduction of water filtration systems will be accompanied by trainings for proper system maintenance and safe water storage, since filtrated water has no residual disinfection effect. Safe sanitation and hygiene promotion are key components of preventing water borne disease outbreaks and community resilience. 

 

Thank you for your continued support of our programs in earthquake affected Ecuador. 

Safe and Clean Drinking Water
Safe and Clean Drinking Water
Distribution of School Kits
Distribution of School Kits
PSS For First Responders
PSS For First Responders
Ecuador Coastline
Ecuador Coastline
Shelter in Jama
Shelter in Jama
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Organization Information

IsraAID

Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IsraAID
Project Leader:
Navonel (Voni) Glick
Deputy Director / COO
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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