April 21, 2016: five days since a 7.8 earthquake struck Ecuador’s northeast, the number of dead and injured continues to rise. According to official figures, 570 people are confirmed dead, more than 7,000 are injured and 155 people remain missing. More than 24,400 people are now living in shelters. Early Wednesday morning, a powerful aftershock measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, struck about 25 kilometers west of Muisne, one of the hardest-hit areas. There are still no reports of additional injuries or damages from the aftershock.
Once Médecins Sans Frontières knew the magnitude of the earthquake, the organization mobilized four teams already in the region. Three of those teams are currently in Ecuador, with a fourth team arriving in the next few hours. On the first day that Médecins Sans Frontières was on the ground, it administered 25 primary health consultations, 11 mental health and psycho social sessions to 45 people in Chamanga, in Esmeraldas province. In Pedernales, one of the most affected zones, Médecins Sans Frontières teams provided medicines and supplies for injured people to the ministry of health hospital and a local health center. Psycho-social teams also visited some of the local shelters.
The most acute needs are psycho-social support and donations of water, plastic sheeting and jerry cans for displaced people in shelters in the areas of Muisne, Chamanga and Cabo de San Francisco, in the municipalities of Muisne and Pedernales. Médecins Sans Frontières will also provide donations of medicines and medical supplies to various health structures in affected zones. Médecins Sans Frontières teams based in these areas are planning to expand and develop these activities over the next three weeks.