Ecuador: Red Cross responds to deadly earthquake

Published: 17 April 2016 13:32 CET

More than 800 volunteers and staff from the Ecuadorian Red Cross have been active following the earthquake which has killed over 230 people and left more than 1,500 injured. In addition to search and rescue operations, the Red Cross has also provided psychosocial support and first aid.

The 7.8 magnitude quake occurred in the early evening on 16 April, with its epicentre in Esmeraldas province. A state of emergency has been declared. Roads have been badly damaged, bridges have collapsed, and power supplies have been affected.

Walter Cotte, the Americas Regional Director for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it was a terrible day for the people of Ecuador. “Our international network is giving the Ecuadorian Red Cross all support to respond to this terrible disaster,” he said.

In addition to the hundreds of search and rescue volunteers now working in Esmeraldas, Manabi, Portoviejo and Guayaquil, the Ecuador Red Cross has also mobilized health teams and hospital units, and deployed a National Disaster Response Team to carry out an assessment of the humanitarian needs following the earthquake. As is often the case, health services have been directly affected by the quake, and this will have an impact on the nature of the Red Cross response.

“Depending on the number of health facilities affected there may also be urgent needs around maternal and obstetric care. We should also expect urgent needs around food, water, sanitation and shelter,” said Cotte.

The IFRC has pre-positioned disaster relief stock in Ecuador and is providing support to the Ecuador Red Cross through its Americas regional network. The Red Cross societies of Peru and Spain are also on standby to assist the earthquake response operation.

More information about the disaster and the Red Cross response will be posted on in due course.

Ecuadorian Red Cross appeal