On April 18, 2016, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s northern Pacific coast, killing more than 660 people, injuring thousands and turning homes and roads to rubble. In all, 35 health care facilities were damaged or destroyed—14 beyond repair.
To help survivors and restore health services, Americares applied our technical expertise in disaster response, supply chain management and health service delivery. With support from our network of generous donors, Americares has provided more than $8 million in emergency medicine and project support.
Our work focused in three areas: Meet immediate and urgent medical needs; restore health services; provide psychoeducation services to help survivors and build capacity.
In the year following the earthquake, Americares delivered more than 32 tons of relief supplies to support the health of affected families. Collaborating with local partners, Americares provided critical medicine and medical services to more than 2,700 diabetic patients displaced in the earthquake and enough water purification supplies for 25,000 families for one month. Our support also included shipments to U.S.-based volunteer medical teams providing care to survivors.
The earthquake left entire communities without access to clean drinking water, increasing risk of waterborne diseases. Americares distributed more than 2 million water purification sachets to vulnerable families and led training sessions on how to use the product. The sachets provided one month of clean water for 25,000 families.
Americares installed a field hospital to restore health services for survivors in Pedernales—a hard-hit town with significant need for medical services. At the field hospital, patients can access quality health care, including emergency medical and maternal and child health services. To date, the hospital has treated more than 7,800 patients, including more than 80 women who gave birth between September and December 2016.
After a disaster, survivors need tools to address stress in their communities. To help meet this need, Americares partnered with the Canoa Ministry of Health to provide psychosocial services to survivors within weeks of the earthquake. Americares and the Ministry of Health brought together more than 65 children and their families. The children participated in structured activities while their parents met with a team of psychologists to learn coping strategies for themselves and their children. Afterwards, families came together to participate in education programs and receive hygiene kits to help prevent disease and support recovery.
The organization responds to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities