UN017387

On 19 April 2016, children sit in a shelter run by a church in Portoviejo, Manabí.

On 16 April 2016, Ecuador was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. The earthquake was felt in the whole country, but the most significant damage has been reported from the coastal provinces. Pedernales canton (in Manabí province) has been reported as one of the most damaged territories, along with Portoviejo, Chone and Muisne. The Government has declared a State of emergency for 6 provinces: Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, Santo Domingo and Los Ríos. In some of the worst hit areas, mudslides are causing further damage to infrastructure and hindering access of relief teams and supplies. UNICEF is concerned about health, water and sanitation conditions in the coastal areas – which are already considered hotspots for Zika, Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya. Three UNICEF immediate response teams functioning in the affected region, in Pedernales and Esmeraldas. UNICEF is also working to reinforce the psychological support for children living in shelters provided by the Government. Immediately after the earthquake struck, UNICEF sent in water purification tablets, mosquito nets and tarps.