Displaced Ecuador Earthquake Survivors Face Lack of Water, Sanitation, Funding

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An earthquake survivor sits oustide her makeshift shelter in Ecuador. © IOM 2016

Ecuador – IOM, through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), has released its second set of findings on the main needs and vulnerabilities faced by people displaced in Ecuador’s Manabi and Esmeraldas provinces in the wake of the country’s devastating 16th April earthquake.

Based on a preliminary assessment made by the Ministry of Housing regarding the shelter situation, 30,000 people out of a total of 73,000 displaced are currently living in planned or spontaneous displacement sites.

According to the Ministry of Social Inclusion (MIES), 20,409 of the 30,000 are located in 146 “spontaneous” sites in Manabí, Esmeraldas and Santo Domingo de Los Tsachilas provinces.

According to the DTM, 15,396 of the people assessed between 17-22 May are located in Manabí, 4,671 in Esmeraldas and 342 in Santo Domingo. The DTM results include people living in government-organized camps, “spontaneous” shelters, open spaces and with host families.

A majority of the sites – some 60 percent – are not government-coordinated, while 40 percent are organized by either MIES or the Armed Forces. IOM reports some 75 percent of the camps have community participation in the form of camp committees formed by the internally displaced persons (IDPs) themselves.

A shortage of drinking water was flagged as a major problem. Some 62 percent of the sites reported receiving over two liters of drinking water per person a day. But 36 percent reported receiving less.

The DTM report also showed problems relating to hygiene and sanitation. The number of latrines remains insufficient in most sites. In some sites there were either no latrines or one latrine for 70 people or more.

The report showed that many showers and toilets in the sites are not segregated for men and women.

The main health problem reported in 69 percent of cases was acute respiratory infections. In 16 percent it was diarrhea. With the poor sanitary conditions in most of the sites visited, vector-borne diseases could also increase, with growing numbers of mosquitoes reported.

“We have been here since the earthquake and one of our main problems is the lack of water and showers. We do not have a space to cook and the children get sick very often due to our living conditions,” said Luz Villareal, a woman living now at one of the “spontaneous” sites.

“The Ecuadorian government response to the challenges is impressive, and they provide substantially better services in the 28 government-managed camps,” said Damien Thuriaux, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ecuador. “The persistent challenge is how to improve the conditions of those who, for justifiable reasons, do not wish to be in camps and require targeted support.”

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and the Canadian government are currently funding IOM’s DTM activities in Ecuador. But IOM has only received USD 1 million of the USD 9.25 million it has appealed for to meet urgent priorities in CCCM, Shelter and Early Recovery. Its capacity to comprehensively respond to the earthquake is therefore severely constrained.

The DTM report can be downloaded from:

For further information please contact Jimena Almeida, IOM Ecuador, Tel: +593 99 9666640 Email:

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