A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the northern coast of Ecuador on 16 April 2016, causing 663 deaths and injuring more than 6,274 people. Around 750,000 people have been affected by the disaster and nearly half of them are in need. In addition to the causalities and widespread damage, people’s livelihoods have also been severely affected as many do not have jobs or have been left without tools to work with.
This is the strongest earthquake to hit Ecuador in 40 years. More than 1,570 aftershocks were recorded since the earthquake, while two strong aftershocks – measuring over 6.5 in magnitude – further hit the affected regions. Survivors are now in dire need of clean water, food, shelter and other support.
The Oxfam team based in Portoviejo, Manabí Province, is now providing water, sanitation and hygiene in Portoviejo and Pedernales – two of the worst hit communities. We aim to reach 50,000 people, and provide safe water and hygiene kits to over 30,000 people.
We are currently:
- Delivering safe water by building water tanks and water pipes in San Vicente
- Purchasing water pumps to restore wells; we are currently reaching around 8,000 people in Jama
- Building three sets of latrines and shower bath in Pedernales, as well as 17 community water points, serving 6,525 people
- Planning to rehabilitate the water system and water points in some rural communities, including pumps and wells in Muisne, benefiting 11,465 people
- Providing health promotion activities in Pedernales
- Monitoring the water distribution points in the affected communities
The main issues people face now in Pedernales and other places most affected by the earthquake are accessing adequate amounts of safe water at shelters, the risk of infection and diseases due to poor sanitary conditions, and the restoration of municipal or community water systems. Oxfam’s expertise in water and sanitation could provide added value to ease the urgent needs of those affected by the earthquake.
Oxfam plans to maintain its humanitarian assistance in Ecuador for at least the next nine months. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our relief plan in accordance with the latest situation.
Oxfam has been working in Ecuador since the 1980s. We are now raising funds to respond to the needs of those affected by the devastating earthquake in the country. Oxfam Hong Kong is calling on the public to support the disaster relief work that will be carried out there.