Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien Statement on Ecuador Earthquake

News and Press Release
Originally published


(New York/Washington DC, 17 April 2016) I am saddened by the loss of life in central Ecuador where yesterday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake has claimed over 230 lives, injured more than 1,500, and has affected more than one million people. I offer my heartfelt concern for all who have been caught up in this disaster.

This earthquake is reportedly the strongest for decades. The authorities continue to assess the impact and damage, but so far we know that across Manabi and Esmeralda provinces, the earthquake has damaged or destroyed homes, hospitals, roads and businesses, power lines have been cut and tens of thousands of people are currently sheltering in evacuation centres.

The Government of Ecuador is leading the response, rescuing trapped people, distributing food and other relief supplies, and providing emergency shelter. A state of emergency has been declared in six regions, and the Government has asked for international assistance.

I pay tribute to the prompt actions of the local emergency responders, especially the search and rescue teams, and preparedness measures taken by the Ecuadorean authorities, which have undoubtedly saved lives.

The United Nations and our humanitarian partners stand ready to support the people and the authorities with any expertise and support they may need. I have mobilized a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team, led by OCHA, to support the efforts of the authorities, and the World Health Organization has deployed a mobile medical emergency team. [ends]

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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