An Americares emergency team is at work in Ecuador, helping families and communities begin the recovery from the strongest earthquake to hit the country since 1979.
Americares is working with local health care partners and medical outreach teams in the region to deliver and distribute medicine and relief supplies for survivors. Emergency shipments of 32 tons of medicine, medical supplies and family emergency kits from Americares have arrived in Ecuador. These shipments are helping to resupply hospitals and clinics damaged by the earthquake.
In addition, the team has coordinated with Ministry of Health officials in early psychosocial support efforts to help displaced families struggling in the aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck on Saturday April 16, 2016, killing hundreds of people, injuring more than 16,000, leaving thousands in shelters and many more sleeping outside.
As the emergency team evaluates damaged health facilities and other possible recovery needs, Americares is working with a local partner to reach 1,200 diabetics displaced by the earthquake in order to provide medicines and medical services.
“One of the hospitals we saw is completely inoperable; the staff is treating survivors out of tents in the parking lot,” said Americares Director of Emergency Response Kate Dischino, who is leading the team on the ground in Ecuador. “Our emergency shipments will help ensure medical professionals have the tools they need to continue providing care even in the most challenging circumstances.”
The devastating quake struck coastal Ecuador with impacts hundreds of miles inland. Local partners report to Americares that hospitals have sustained damages and patients are being transferred to inland communities for care.
Aftershocks, landslides and crumbling bridges and roads have made it difficult for emergency workers to get assistance to the hardest-hit areas. Entire communities have been flattened and several thousand people are in immediate need of shelter, with as many as 100,000 needing assistance in the aftermath of the quake.
The President of Ecuador declared a national emergency in the affected provinces and deployed the military and police to help in rescue operations.
Americares has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters and stocks emergency medicines and supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis. The global health and emergency response organization has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty around the world for more than 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope. On average, Americares responds to 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year. AmeriCares also establishes long-term recovery projects in communities affected by disaster and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities.
“Our emergency shipments will help ensure medical professionals have the tools they need to continue providing care even in the most challenging circumstances.”
Kate Dischino, Emergency Response Director