Magnitude 7.8 earthquake causes fatalities, injuries, displacement, and significant structural damage in Ecuador
GoE declares a national state of emergency and requests international assistance
USAID provides initial assistance to address food needs, distribute emergency relief supplies, and support the coordination of relief efforts
At 6:58 p.m. local time—or 7:58 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time—on April 16, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck off the coast of northwestern Ecuador at a depth of approximately 12 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The epicenter of the earthquake was located approximately 17 miles south-southeast of Muisne town in Esmeraldas Province and approximately 106 miles from Ecuador’s capital city of Quito.
At least four aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 5.5 to 6.1 followed the initial earthquake, which severely affected Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Santa Elena, and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas provinces.
Immediately following the earthquake, the Government of Ecuador (GoE) declared a national state of emergency, activating its emergency operations center and deploying military and national police forces to assist with rescue and response activities. The GoE requested international assistance in the following days.
As of April 21, the GoE reported nearly 600 deaths and an estimated 150 missing people; the earthquake injured approximately 8,000 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 buildings, including hospitals in Manabí, as well as electrical, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructure. The UN estimated that 720,000 people were in need of emergency assistance as of April 21.
On April 18, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Douglas A. Koneff declared a disaster due to the effects of the earthquake in Ecuador. In response, USAID/OFDA is supporting the distribution of emergency relief supplies and the provision of technical assistance to urban search-and-rescue (USAR) efforts. USAID/FFP is providing an initial $500,000 to the UN World Food Program (WFP) to address food needs among earthquake-affected populations. USAID/OFDA and USAID/FFP are assessing the need for additional support.