Ecuador Earthquake Q&A

What happened?

On Saturday 16 April 2016 a 7.8 earthquake (Richter scale) hit Northern Ecuador at 18:58 local time. The epicentre was 27 kilometres from the small coastal town of Muisne (west of the Province of Esmeraldas), with a depth of 20 kilometres. 
The worst damage was reported in the canton of Pedernales, which was declared a "disaster zone". Access has been limited due to damages to infrastructure. Source UN OCHA

How is Ecuador prepared, and responding?

The Government of Ecuador declared a “State of Exception” for 6 provinces: Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, Santo Domingo and Los Ríos. Ecuador’s Ministry of Interior is coordinating response efforts with the National Police, National Secretariat for Risk Management, the Metropolitan Municipality, the Firefighters and Armed Forces. Firefighters and equipment such as trucks, canines, light equipment, motor pumps, have been sent from other areas of the country to the affected zones of Pedernales, Manta, Portoviejo and Canoa. The National Police have deployed extra police officials, helicopters and patrol units to help rescue people who remain trapped. Coordination is ongoing between the in the National, Provincial and Cantonal Emergency Operations Centres. The Ministry of Social Assistance has requested that efforts be focused in three main areas: 1) search and rescue, 2) funding for response and recovery, y 3) reconstruction of Pedernales and Puerto Viejo. The Ministry of Labour announced the creation of a roster of labourers from public institutions who would like to volunteer to response efforts in affected areas. Source UN OCHA.


How does CBM work in Ecuador?

CBM Latin America Regional Office is based in Quito, Ecuador. CBM currently supports four partner-projects in Ecuador, focused on empowerment of persons with disabilities in Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), and mainstreaming disability, and located in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Guayas, and Loja.

How have CBM and partners been affected?

CBM Emergency Response Unit has been in contact with our Regional Office. All CBM and partner staff are safe. All CBM staff members and their family have been made aware of dos and don’ts during aftershocks to ensure safety. Two CBM partners have activities in the affected areas. One of these has reported no need of support; the other will be involved in CBM response.

What is the situation for people with disabilities?

In any emergency or disaster, people who live with some form of disability are disproportionally affected. Reasons for this include inaccessibility of warning messages and emergency shelters, loss and damage of assistive devices, disruption of support networks and increased difficulty in accessing basic humanitarian operations (food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care services).
At the same time, emergencies can increase the number of people who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective medical services. It was reported that during the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami research the mortality rate among persons with disability was twice that of the rest of the population.
It is likely that persons with disabilities or people with injuries will need immediate medical as well as rehabilitation services. For persons with disabilities, assistive devices allow much needed autonomy to participate to emergency response and recovery activities. 

What is CBM doing to respond?

CBM will respond to best ensure that persons with disabilities (including older people and other more at-risk people) and their families can access mainstream relief and recovery services and, simultaneously, that any specific needs are met.