A 7.8 magnitude earthquake which hit Ecuador on 16 April 2016 caused death and destruction. Photo: UNICEF Ecuador
NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–18 April 2016 – While the Government of Ecuador is leading the response to continue helping people and communities affected by Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the United Nations announced it has deployed relief teams to provide additional support.
“The Secretary-General commends the Ecuadorean authorities for their leadership in the rescue effort and in providing relief to affected communities,” said a statement issued by Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson.
It further indicated that Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, who leads the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has deployed a Disaster and Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) team, which stands ready to provide additional support.
According to the latest assessment, more than 230 people died in central Ecuador and thousands were injured in the earthquake, reportedly the strongest in decades.
“The authorities continue to assess the impact and damage, but so far we know that across Manabi and Esmeralda provinces, the earthquake has damaged or destroyed homes, hospitals, roads and businesses, power lines have been cut and tens of thousands of people are currently sheltering in evacuation centres,” Mr. O’Brien said.
He noted that a state of emergency has been declared in six regions, and the Government has asked for international assistance.
“The United Nations and our humanitarian partners stand ready to support the people and the authorities with any expertise and support they may need,” he stressed, adding that World Health Organization (WHO) has deployed a mobile medical emergency team.
Their team is reportedly on the ground assessing the impact of the quake on children, and will continue to work with humanitarian partners to provide education, protection and water and sanitation supplies, including school kits and tents.