Micronutrients and other nutritional supplies (5,000,000 Chispaz, 350,000 zinc, 55,000 oral rehydration salts, 1,620,000 iron and folic acid supplementation for pregnant women) have been donated to MoH and distributed to health facilities in Manabí. More than 1,500 children have benefited from these supplements.
17,300 children (5 to 14 years old) are receiving psychosocial support in 26 locations in the affected zones, including official and spontaneous shelters and communities. Also under “Retorno a la Alegría” 173 coordinators (community leaders) have been trained to work with 1,730 youth volunteers (15 to 18 years old).
Despite the efforts of UNICEF ant its partners, challenges faced by the national institutions (high turnover of technical staff in affected zones) could compromise continuous and systematic psychosocial support provision. In addition, affected people are frequently moving to alternative locations in host communities, therefore monitoring of psychosocial recuperation proves to be difficult.
Lack of identification of children is another important protection barrier related to access to services for children. UNICEF is working with UNHCR and Civil Registry Office to provide and finance brigades to ensure documentation is provided to affected children.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
On 16 April, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck coastal areas in northwest Ecuador causing widespread damage (720,000 people affected, of whom 350,000 are in need of urgent assistance) and loss of life (663 people dead). On May 18th, two aftershocks took place (6.7 and 6.8 in the Richter´s scale), intensifying pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. The Government and international community launched a response immediately following the earthquake. Almost two months after the earthquake, roads are cleared, communication networks repaired and electricity restored in most areas.
However, unmet needs remain in rural areas and communities with limited social services and higher levels of vulnerability prior to earthquake due to the majority of assistance delivered have focused on urban settings.
As of May 18th, the government reported 663 fatalities, 12 missing persons, and 4,859 injured people. Up to 560 schools were damaged and 50 health facilities destroyed or damaged. To that date there were currently 28,7752 people residing in official collective shelters with an unknown number of people living with host families or in spontaneous sites.
Immediate assistance should be provided in the current places where people are residing whether on their own land, in an organized camp, spontaneous site or with a host family. Poor sanitation conditions in all of these places are increasing the risk of diarrhea, putting at risk the nutritional status of people, especially children. There is a high risk of mosquito-borne disease such as Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue fever, posing an immediate public health threat. After the aftershocks on May 18th, temporary education and protection spaces established are returning to normal: people’s attendance has been gradually increasing due to the psychosocial and emotional support provided by UNICEF ant its partners. Besides, the Government is establishing displacement camps and relocating people from spontaneous sites to the new camps. Demolition and assessments of houses and infrastructures are still ongoing. However, urgent needs in terms of safe water, sanitation and hygiene; emergency and temporary shelter solutions; health; protection; food assistance and education remain important. Limited funding may hinder humanitarian operations.