Ecuador devastated by strongest earthquake in decades

UNICEF is delivering emergency supplies to children and families whose lives have been shattered by the powerful quake.

UPDATE 19/04/2016: More than 400 people have now been confirmed dead and over 2,500 injured in the aftermath of the worst earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades.

Over 150,000 children are estimated to have been impacted by the earthquake, including by the destruction of at least 119 schools. UNICEF is working urgently to ensure children are safe, protect them from diseases and provide neccesary psychosocial support.
Hear updates from the field in this radio interview with UNICEF Ecuador Representative Grant Leaity:

Ecuador earthquake death toll expected to rise on RN Breakfast - ABC Radio

The death toll from Ecuador's devastating earthquake is expected to rise as more aftershocks continue to rattle the nation.

Original post 19/04/2016: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has collapsed buildings, destroyed infrastructure and killed over 270 people, with many more injured and some still trapped amid the rubble.

While the full impact of the quake is still emerging, early reports have revealed terrible damage. In Pedernales, a town of 40,000 near the epicenter, some 60 per cent of houses are said to have been destroyed
UNICEF teams have arrived in Pedernales and other affected areas to support the Ecuadorian Government's emergency response. 

Staff are working to urgently assess the needs of children and families and to deliver life-saving supplies. Knowing that Ecuador is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural hazards, UNICEF had already pre-positioned water kits, tents and other emergency supplies in the region, ready to meet the immediate needs of the children.

How UNICEF can help in a crisis

Wherever disaster strikes, UNICEF can work with governments and partners to:
  • Restore life-saving medical services, water and sanitation
  • Deliver emergency hygiene and nutritional supplies to families who have lost everything
  • Reunite separated children with their parents
  • Set up child-friendly spaces to keep children off the streets and away from danger
  • Provide counselling and psychosocial support for children suffering profound stress
  • Help children back to school and through every step of the long-term recovery.

Supporting children in Ecuador for more than 40 years

UNICEF has been working to protect and support children in Ecuador since 1973. The local team has dedicated itself to giving children good health and nutrition from their first moment of life, access to a quality education and freedom from child labour. 
Given the country's vulnerability to earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, UNICEF has also supported disaster risk reduction programs and strengthened the community's ability to prepare for and respond to crises like the one it faces today.