Responding to deadly earthquake – worst in decades
An AmeriCares emergency team is deploying to Ecuador, responding to the strongest earthquake to hit the country since 1979. The 7.8-magnitude quake struck on Saturday April 16, killing hundreds of people and injuring more than 2,500. AmeriCares is also working with health care partners in the region to deliver medicine and relief supplies for survivors.
“With so many people injured and health facilities damaged, there is an urgent need for pain medicine, bandages, antibiotics and other critical supplies,” said AmeriCares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “We are preparing an emergency shipment to meet survivors’ immediate needs.”
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 are making 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. Early estimates suggest that as many as 100,000 may need assistance in the aftermath of the quake.
The President of Ecuador has declared a national emergency and deployed the military and police to help in rescue operations. The number of dead and injured is expected to rise sharply as search and rescue operations expand.
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.