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Ecuador map
UNICEF photo: boy walks over logs and debris © UNICEF/UN018158/Reinoso Devastation caused by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Ecuador in mid-April.


In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

people affected have access to safe water


children under 5 years receive support for adequate protection, promotion and support of appropriate infant and young child feeding in emergencies


children benefit from psychosocial support services through education in emergencies and key life-saving messages

2016 Requirements: US$15,300,000

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Total affected population: 720,000
Total affected children: 250,000

Total people to be reached in 2016: 350,000
Total children to be reached in 2016: 250,000

On 16 April 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck northwest Ecuador resulting in a state of emergency in the six provinces of Manabí, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena, Guayas, Santo Domingo and Los Ríos. As the largest disaster in the region since Haiti in 2010, the earthquake has directly affected 720,000 people of which some 250,000 are children. As of 5 May, the government reported 660 fatalities, 15 missing persons, and around 4,605 injured people who received medical attention during the first 72 hours. Some 7,000 buildings were destroyed, up to 560 schools1 were damaged and 50 health facilities destroyed or damaged. Currently 30,2232 people are residing in official collective shelters. Infrastructures, roads and bridges, were severely damaged, resulting in logistics, access and communications challenges for the delivery of assistance. Heavy rainfall is exacerbating the damage, causing floods and stagnant water, increasing the risk of mosquito-borne disease such as Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue fever. Government and international teams are still assessing the situation and trying to reach the most affected areas. Official figures on impact and damage are expected to rise. Immediate needs include safe water, sanitation and hygiene, emergency and temporary shelter solutions, health, protection for women and children, food assistance and education.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets

Health and nutrition

  • 42,000 children under 5 years receive support for adequate protection, promotion and support of appropriate infant and young child feeding in emergencies
  • 8,000 pregnant and lactating women have access to micronutrients, receive psychosocial support and are reached with relevant information about nutritions
  • 50,000 people receive access to immediate vector control and individual protection through prevention tools to stop the spread of mosquito borne diseases


  • 170,000 people affected receive hygiene support
  • 90,000 people affected have access to safe water
  • 40,000 affected people have access to basic sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 40,000 affected children are reached with psychosocial support services in CFS
  • 6,000 families supported in terms of provision of adequate care, protection and prevention of family separation


  • 20,000 children have access to temporary education, recreational and protective spaces
  • 60,000 children benefit from psychosocial support services through education in emergencies and key life-saving messages

UNICEF is co-leading the WASH and the Education Sectorial Groups with the respective line ministries and is an active member of the Health Sectorial Group, which includes Nutrition. UNICEF also leads the Child Protection sub-cluster. With partners and Government, UNICEF is focusing on the immediate provision of safe water and sanitation and the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructures. Prevention of Zika and other mosquito-spread or water-borne diseases will continue to be a focus through community mobilization activities. Health and nutrition services will be supported through the provision of critical health supplies, early identification of children at risk of malnutrition and care of children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Education will be supported through the national Safe Return to School Plan, specifically the provision of supplies and materials, rehabilitation of schools and establishment of temporary schools which are safe from hazards. Psychosocial assistance and recreational activities will be provided to affected children through the establishment of safe child-friendly centres. Family tracing and reunification activities, as well as individual care for orphans will be undertaken in close collaboration with the Ecuadorian Red Cross and Ministry for Social Protection. UNICEF field presence is being reinforced through the opening of field coordination offices in Pedernales, Esmeraldas and Portoviejo.

Results to date

Upon completion of the needs assessments conducted by the Government and humanitarian partners, UNICEF’s country and regional offices quickly scaled-up to respond using US$2 million from UNICEF’s Emergency Programme Fund. Building on its longstanding partnership with the Ministries of Health, Education, and Social Protection, UNICEF is providing substantive support to needs assessments3, coordination and first response in WASH, education and child protection. Since the earthquake, more than 20 surge staff have been deployed to Ecuador to support UNICEF’s emergency response. Over 100 metric tons of critical medical, water and sanitation, education and non-food items have been shipped from UNICEF’s supply hubs in Panama and Copenhagen reaching affected people in the provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas. UNICEF has also delivered 40,000 Aquatabs and 5,000 impregnated mosquito nets to the most affected areas. Sixty latrines are being installed in Pedernales, and the first four education and protection spaces are being installed in Pedernales and Jama which will benefit some 3,500 children. Early psychosocial support for children and adolescents is currently underway. UNICEF is also supporting data collection regarding the needs of children and adolescents with disabilities.

Funding requirements

In line with the inter-agency Flash Appeal4, UNICEF is requesting US$15,300,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children and women affected by the recent earthquake. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the government-led national response nor the provision of basic services including water supplies, education, health and child protection assistance to the children and their families living in the most hard-hit areas.

1 Secretaria de Gestion de Riesgos (05/05/2016).
2 Ibid.
3 Assessments were conducted in Pedernales, Muisne, Jama, Portoviejo and Manta.
4 UNICEF’s HAC includes an additional US$250,000 to support adequate and timely sector coordination.