International Medical Corps Supporting Emergency Relief Efforts in Aftermath of Ecuador Earthquake
Following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the western coast of Ecuador on April 16, 2016, International Medical Corps immediately partnered with a local group of 30 medical volunteers who were providing assistance in hard-hit areas of Manabí Province, and deployed a doctor and long-time first responder to provide technical support and emergency response coordination expertise. International Medical Corps' emergency response team (ERT) facilitated assessments and coordinated the group’s mobile medical response across several communities in Manabí. The ERT remains on the ground in Manabí—one of the most affected provinces—to support relief efforts led by the Ecuadorian government.
The Government of Ecuador estimates that 240,704 people have been directly affected by the earthquake across the six affected provinces for which the Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency. Approximately 10,500 houses were destroyed across affected communities, the majority in Manabí. More than 28,900 people have sought shelter in official camps managed by Ecuador’s Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES); in spontaneous settlements; or with family and friends.
Robust response and recovery efforts are ongoing, although some rural villages have limited access to services, particularly in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, where sufficient access to quality water and sanitation services has been affected by the earthquake. Key needs remain in these and other affected areas, including access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, shelter support, and relief supplies.
In response to needs identified by our ERT, International Medical Corps is coordinating with MIES, the Ecuadorian military, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and local actors to deliver WASH assistance in official camps and spontaneous settlements around Pedernales and Jama. With the support of local volunteers International Medical Corps distributed 250 family hygiene kits containing bath soap, laundry soap, buckets, towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, toilet paper, and razors. International Medical Corps aims to
distribute hygiene kits to 1,000 earthquake-affected families.
In response to other WASH needs identified in displacement sites and other affected communities, additional measures by our ERT will include:
- Provision of tailored hygiene kits that include materials for washing food with safe water to 100 small vendors who sell fresh produce in camps and spontaneous settlements to help limit the spread of illnesses.
- Coordination of activities with Ministry of Public Health hygiene promotion campaigns that improve awareness of good hygiene and sanitation practices.
- Construction of accessible and private bathing facilities and provide handwashing stations across 20 to 30 displacement sites around Pedernales.
- Construction of temporary water infrastructure in communities that lack or have limited access to potable water, as well as distribute materials for household-level water purification.
All of International Medical Corps’ response activities in response to the earthquake will be coordinated with the Ecuadorian government, local authorities, community leaders, and other humanitarian actors.
International Medical Corps has responded in the aftermath of historic earthquakes such as the 2016 Japan earthquakes, 2015 Nepal earthquakes, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.