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Floods in Ecuador are affecting unprotected sectors

© UNICEF/Ecuador/2008
Families that have been displaced by the rains and flooding live in improvised shelters. Most of them have lost all they had; other have saved some of their belongings. UNICEF provides mattresses, along with other supplies.

Quito, Ecuador, February 27, 2008- The emergency caused by heavy rainfall in the past weeks seriously affects 13 of the country’s provinces.  To date powerful rains provoked 16 deaths, great damages to the infrastructure and agriculture and left many people homeless.

16,000 people have been evacuated to shelters, amongst them were more than 8,000 children. While the rains continue it is likely that the number of victims will rise.

At the end of January, when the climate phenomenon first started, few people were willing to move to shelters, to which the Ecuadorian Government responded by declaring a state of emergency on the coast. The heavy rains continued for three weeks, causing the Government to declare a National State of Emergency, which involves the participation of national military forces.

The effects of the rains include rivers bursting their banks, flooding and deaths (including children), as well as submerged crops, destruction of fields and houses, displacements, and death of animals. Schools and churches are used as temporary shelters. People lost their belongings and face high risk of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections, skin diseases, leptospirosis and problems caused by snake bites.

© UNICEF/Ecuador/2008
Children are the most endangered victims of the flooding, they are small, have less force, and can easily be carried away by the floodings. UNICEF staff Leticia Cervantes helps children cross a flooded area in Milagro, Ecuador.

In response to the Government’s official request for aid last Friday, UNICEF is going to deliver 600 mosquito nets, 100 mattresses, 100 blankets, 100 hygiene kits, 400 “Return to Happiness” backpacks for the shelters, as well as 500 water tanks and 14 water chloride equipments.

In the meantime, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea-caused diseases by providing oral dehydrations salts. This week, UNICEF staff will give intensive capacity training to 100 public functionaries in charge of organizing the shelters.

UNICEF is also working in cooperation with the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Team (UNETE) and it is part of UNDAC, which began its mission this week.

For further information
Gabriela Malo, gmalo@unicef.org, UNICEF Ecuador

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About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

 

 
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