On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Ecuador in the province of Esmeraldas, some 100 miles from the capital, Quito. The Ecuadorian Red Cross immediately responded, activating 800 volunteers to provide first aid and search and rescue for survivors. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has pre-positioned disaster relief stock in Ecuador and is providing support to the Ecuador Red Cross through its Americas regional network. It occurred just days after two deadly quakes struck Japan’s Kyushu region.
Initial reports show the quake left hundreds of people dead and hundreds more injured. Damage to infrastructure, homes and roads has been extensive and more than than 100 aftershocks have occurred in the area. A tsunami warning was issued, but there have been no reports of tsunami-related damage thus far. A state of emergency has been declared by the Ecuadoran Government.
Because of the many remote mountain villages in the area and downed communication systems, a full assessment of damage and loss has not yet been possible. It is expected the number of deaths and damage will increase as more information is gathered.
The people of Japan are also reeling from the disaster there when twin earthquakes occurred within hours. The Japanese Red Cross immediately responded, dispatching 12 medical teams to help the injured. Additional volunteers are distributing blankets, sleeping mats, tarps, pillows, and hygiene kits to people in shelters—as well as other support as needed.
The American Red Cross is not currently seeking funds for the earthquakes. We are unable to fundraise for disasters outside of the U.S. if we have not been asked.
Both the Ecuador and Japan Red Cross Societies are still conducting assessments and have not yet asked for international assistance. The American Red Cross has a long-standing partnership with the Ecuadorian Red Cross and has been working in the country for years, helping kids and communities prepare for earthquake. See more here. Our hearts go out to the people of Ecuador and we will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days.