A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador on the evening of April 16, knocking down buildings, destroying roads, and creating massive infrastructural issues across the country, as well as taking the lives of 661 people and injuring some 27,700 more. The quake triggered landslides and spurred the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to issue a warning for the nearby Pacific coastline.
In coordination with 4 airlines, Airlink provided transportation for more than 50 relief workers and 201,303 pounds of cargo, with aid materials valued at nearly $4,000,000.
All Hands Volunteers deployed their DART to assess the need for expedient home repair and debris removal. Upon finding significant need, the team established a base in San Vicente and worked to provide demolition on local homes that had been damaged beyond repair, as well as beginning construction on homes that could be repaired. Open defecation was identified as a significant threat to sanitation and hygiene, and the team worked to build latrines to address the needs in the local community, together with the local health department.
Americares worked with local health care partners and medical outreach teams in the region to deliver and distribute medicine and relief supplies for survivors. Following the arrival of 32 tons of medicine, medical supplies and family emergency kits, the team worked to resupply hospitals and clinics damaged by the earthquake. The team also coordinated with Ministry of Health officials in early psychosocial support efforts to help displaced families.
To respond rapidly to health needs resulting from the quake, International Medical Corps immediately deployed a doctor volunteer to Manabí Province, one of the worst affected areas, to provide technical support and coordination expertise for a local team of 30 medical volunteers. The team also saw patients as they reached affected communities in Manabí and provided care to at least 158 patients in the villages of Jama, Vijagual, Don Juan, and Mocara, as well as providing psychosocial support training to local health professionals. When needed, the team also provided basic medical supplies and medicines to health facilities in need of replacement stock.
As acute medical concerns following the earthquake were addressed, International Medical Corps worked with the Government of Ecuador to fill gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene services, helping families and communities avoid disease and stay healthy. From Jama to Pedernales, in Manabi Province, new spontaneous settlements were established by returning families. Many of the displaced were from rural villages with limited access to services, particularly in water, sanitation and hygiene, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake.
In coordination with the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion and the military, along with support of volunteers, International Medical Corps initially distributed family hygiene kits for 5,450 people to the four authorized camps in Pedernales, a region of Manabi Province declared a disaster zone by the government. These kits were comprised of soap, laundry soap, buckets, towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, toilet paper, and razors. The team also worked in 30 authorized camps and spontaneous settlements to construct accessible and private bathing facilities, handwashing stations, and temporary water infrastructure.
Thanks to Avianca and United Airlines, Waves for Water‘s disaster team was able to respond quickly – within just 48 hours of the quake. Waves for Water teams throughout the region implemented 2,500+ water filter systems in more than 10 communities, including Esmereldas, Cojimes, Pedernales, Jama, Canoa, Bahia, San Vicente, Manta, Portoviejo, Puerto Cayo. The team has since embarked a long-term recovery project, designing programs that are self sustaining and cover every aspect of need in each community. This includes rain-water harvesting systems, the installation of new wells and/or bore hole pumps, and filtration systems for every household.