Ecuador Disaster Relief Update
On April 16, Ecuador experienced its most devastating earthquake in 40 years. The 7.8-magnitude quake struck near the town of Muisne, with the greatest damage occurring in the coastal region of Manabí.
More than 800 aftershocks have shaken the country in the days following the April 16 quake. One week later, updated news sources confirmed over 650 deaths, thousands injured, and over 100 still missing. Assessments from the United Nations show that more than 26,000 people are living in shelters across the country and 350,000 have been affected. President Rafael Correa estimates the cost of rebuilding to be as high as $3 billion USD, with major port areas and industries (fishing, oil, etc.) also gravely affected.
In response to the April 16 earthquake, TRF’s local partners, including Hogar de Cristo, Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio (FEPP), and Acción Solidaria, have formulated plans to help affected families rebuild their lives.
Proposed mid- to long-term plans
A great deal of coverage and attention has been given to the dire consequences of the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks throughout the coastal region of Ecuador. However, there is growing concern about the unmet needs that are arising as a result of the initial earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, including issues of health and security in the temporary and semi-permanent camps being set up; psycho-social support to victims, including children, families and communities as a whole; and education and training so victims can get jobs, restart businesses, and begin to rebuild their lives.
TRF local partners are developing plans to deal with the situation and to ultimately enable affected families to build a new life. Below is a summary of the action plans proposed by a few TRF partners on the ground as part of their immediate, medium and longer-term relief efforts.
Hogar de Cristo
Geographic Area: Manabí and Esmeraldas provinces, with priority given to marginalized rural and urban areas currently not being reached directly through government relief and private support efforts.
Beneficiaries: Low-income families whose homes have been destroyed and who are currently displaced.
Action Plan: Hogar de Cristo seeks to first address emergency shelter needs by coordinating construction efforts for homeless/displaced families, including 11-family camps ($27,000 USD), single-family homes made of wood and cane ($1,896 USD), and single-family homes made of humidity-resistant material ($2,406 USD). Although the houses are meant to be temporary, they can become permanent homes if the family elects to replace parts of the house with more permanent materials over time (i.e. bricks and cement blocks for walls instead of wood and cane). Construction is currently scheduled to begin in late May, and the organization is working with Catholic University of Quito to also provide psychological attention and support to the families slated to receive Hogar de Cristo services.
Hogar de Cristo remains committed to an integrated and holistic approach and consequently seeks to complement its shelter efforts with training programs focused on health, education and entrepreneurship, thus helping families to ultimately rebuild their lives. The organization aims to launch its HCEmprende Program in the affected areas. Hogar de Cristo has developed this entrepreneurship training and capacity-building initiative over the past three years. The program’s methodology includes three (3) phases focused on topics like market research, cost analysis, business management, development and registration, among others. Participants advance through the three (3) stages over the course of one (1) year and later receive follow-up support and accompaniment services.
The pilot entrepreneurship program could be launched as early as June/July 2016 in the affected coastal region where small businesses are focused primarily in fishing, artisanal crafts, and preparing/selling food items.
Geographic Area: Manabí and Guayas provinces
Beneficiaries: Displaced children and mothers
Action Plan: FEPP seek to focus on the emotional stability of families affected by the earthquake, especially women and children. Psychological/Counseling sessions would emphasize motivational development so that families are encouraged to reestablish their daily lives and routines. In doing this, families will be empowered to rebuild their lives with confidence and to demonstrate resilience in the wake of such a disaster. The proposed intervention will also focus on rebuilding the social fabric of the communities by first promoting an enhanced quality of life in the shelters, where many families from diverse backgrounds will be living in close proximity. FEPP plans to work with psychologists and/or social workers in order to provide specialized individual and/or group counseling sessions, with priority given to children.
The organization seeks to complement these psychosocial services with training and awareness workshops focused on hygiene and proper water use as they relate to health. Trainings will be specifically adapted to the local realities of the families residing in the shelters/camps, but will also incorporate families living outside the shelters/camps wherever possible. Depending on financing, FEPP and its training counterpart FUNDER expect to launch this initiative within the coming months at 10 shelters in the San Isidro parish of Manabí, reaching roughly 120 families (estimates based on a $25,000 USD donation).
Geographic Area: Manabí province
Beneficiaries: Displaced children and mothers
Action Plan: Roughly 80% of Manabí province reported damage after the earthquake, including severe destruction to the sanitation, potable water, and electricity systems. Over 6,600 homes were affected, as well as 13 health buildings, 281 schools, and 71km of roadways. Many affected families are now residing in shelters and camps for displaced persons.
Acción Solidaria seeks to implement a community and economic development program aimed at preventing outbreaks of viral diseases in the relief camps while also supporting affected families’ physical, productive, and emotional recuperation. The organization’s efforts will focus on the roughly 3,500 displaced persons residing in the four (4) camps located in Pedernales, Jama, Canoa and San Isidro; Acción Solidaria has already been involved in these areas with emergency relief teams to distribute water, food and clothing.
Jama Camp San Isidro Camp
How You Can Help
Donate to the relief efforts in Ecuador through the Ecuador Disaster Relief Fund at TRF. Donations to The Resource Foundation in support of disaster relief in Ecuador are tax deductible to the highest extent allowed by law. Click here to donate.