Help needed in Ecuador

On April 16, an earthquake registering 7.8 magnitude struck off Ecuador’s central coast, causing widespread damage. Photo: Agencia de Noticias ANDES (CC-BY-SA)
On April 16, an earthquake registering 7.8 magnitude struck off Ecuador’s central coast, causing widespread damage. Photo: Agencia de Noticias ANDES (CC-BY-SA)

LWF Emergency hub coordinator to assess situation in earthquake area

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is sending emergency staff into the earthquake region of Ecuador to assess the damage and plan possible relief work. “LWF has mobilized the team leader of the Latin America and Caribbean Emergency Response Hub this morning to fly to Ecuador and join the ACT Alliance team on the ground,” LWF World Service’s Humanitarian Coordinator Roland Schlott says.

“Our team leader will support the LWF "recognised church" and members of the ACT Alliance in mounting a response to the needs of the disaster affected population.”

An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale struck on Saturday night, on the northern coast of Ecuador. Its epicenter lay 27 kilometers southeast of the coastal town of Muisne and 170 kilometers northwest of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city.

It is the most powerful earthquake to hit the region in 36 years. According to media reports, more than 400 people died and 2,700 people were injured. According to the Red Cross 320 people have been reported missing. The quake flattened houses, buildings and bridges. Massive damage to property and infrastructure has been reported. A state of emergency is in effect for six provinces. There is little information coming from the remote areas, but according to the government at least half a million people will be affected directly by the earthquake.

The LWF World Service has been maintaining an emergency hub in San Salvador to be able to quickly respond to disasters and humanitarian crises in the region. Latin America and the Caribbean are prone to hurricanes and earthquakes, and have been heavily affected by armed conflict. LWF World Service has country programs in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia and Haiti.

Almost a year ago, LWF World Service mounted a quick and effective response to the earthquake in Nepal. More than 78,000 households in eight districts have benefitted directly from LWF relief work.

ACT Alliance has issued an alert and asks for donations to help the people affected by the earthquake.