Plan International responding to situation in Ecuador following 7.8-magnitude earthquake

destroyed buildings

Destruction from the earthquake is visible in this photo taken the day after the earthquake.

On April 16, 2016, a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the northern coastal town of Muisne in Ecuador, killing 660 people and injuring 30,000 others. Over a thousand aftershocks have been registered, and six provinces across the country have declared a state of emergency.

The earthquake is Ecuador’s largest since 1979, and it has disrupted and destroyed critical infrastructure including homes, schools and health centres. With a focus on some the hardest hit areas, Plan International has mobilized emergency response efforts to reach 75,000 people – half of them are children.

“Children are particularly vulnerable during disasters like earthquakes. They can suffer injuries, become separated or orphaned,” said Rossana Viteri, country director of Plan International Ecuador. “It is of the utmost importance to work quickly and efficiently to help girls and boys cope with the stress of what they’ve been through and give them the space to express themselves in a safe and secure environment.”

In the coming days and weeks, Plan International will continue to respond to the situation in Ecuador, distributing food and water; sleeping kits and shelter materials, and hygiene kits to thousands of households. We will also assess and respond to the situation on the ground, prioritizing the needs of children and their families.

Plan International has been operating in Ecuador for over 50 years, working with children in communities across the country, including 4 of the 6 provinces where a state of emergency has been declared. To date, approximately 150,000 children have been affected, with 281 schools damaged and an estimated 120,000 students are out of school.

To continue children’s education, Plan International is setting up 60 child-friendly spaces and temporary learning centres to enable 30,000 affected children to access education.

2 men with supplies

Plan International staff assemble emergency aid kits for distribution.

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