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Children in Ecuador often face an impoverished upbringing. As parents turn to alcohol, drugs and violence, children are often left to pick up the pieces. SOS Children's Villages has worked to save damaged lives in Ecuador for over half a century. … more about our charity work in Ecuador

SOS families safe as huge earthquake hits Ecuador

Damaged building is pictured after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. Source: REUTERS/Guillermo Granja
Damaged building is pictured after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. Source: REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

We are relieved to report that all SOS children and staff members in Ecuador are safe following yesterday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake. There is also no reported damage to any of our buildings in the country. We are continuing to monitor the situation and remain vigilant to any further threats.

The powerful earthquake hit the north-west coastal region of the country on Saturday evening. Some 272 people have so far been reported dead and more than 2,500 injured, as strong aftershocks continue to rock the country.

Considerable damage has been caused to hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings along the Pacific Coast – in the coastal city of Pedernales it is being reported that over 60% of the city has been destroyed.

Mother and child, Ecuador earthquake 2016
People react after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast, at Tarqui neighborhood in Manta April 17, 2016. Source: REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

All Children’s Villages safe and sound

Our Village in Esmeraldas, located right on the coast, a couple of hundred kilometres from the earthquake’s epicentre, was immediately evacuated following the issuing of a tsunami alert. The threat has now receded and this morning, the children and staff have begun returning to the Village which remains undamaged.

Further south in Portoviejo, our Village has suffered the loss of communications and electricity connections. However all the buildings, including the family houses, remain un-damaged. Staff at the Village are using a generator to provide some electricity and ensure telephone access.

In Guayaquil, all SOS children are safe and damage to our SOS family houses is minimal despite the considerable damage caused to buildings in the surrounding area.

The impact of the earthquake on our Villages in Quito, Cuenca and Ibarra has also been minimal, although staff there are monitoring the situation closely.

Supporting badly-affected local communities

Over the coming days we will provide support to families affected by the earthquake. Our child protection team has already been deployed and is providing expert guidance on how best to protect and care for unaccompanied children.

We are also in the process of coordinating the distribution of food and water packages as well as blankets, mosquito nets and personal hygiene packs. We will keep you informed of our activities over the coming days.

We have been working in Ecuador since 1963 and are therefore well placed to respond quickly and effectively to disasters such as this. Help us continue to provide relief to families affected by emergencies and disasters across the world by donating today.

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