1. Saturday April 16, 2016. 18:58 local time in Ecuador. An earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck off the coast of Ecuador. The epicenter was in the town of Pedernales in the province of Manabi, as recorded by the US Geological Survey’s Earthquake Tracker. It was the largest recorded earthquake in Ecuador since 1979.
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2. The Government’s reaction: Almost two hours after the quake, Vice President Jorge Glas announced that a state of exception had been determined and declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas, Los Rios, Santo Domingo and Esmeraldas. Although the possibility of a tsunami was discounted, Glas requested the population to move to higher ground as a precaution against possible surges.
3. Without services: The affected provinces are without electricity and telephone lines. Cellular telephony services have collapsed. Communications are being carried out through SMS and instant messaging services such as WhatsApp. Information has mainly been flowing through social networks.
4. Road network: The Minister of Transport & Public Works, Walter Solis, confirmed that the earthquake damaged some 1,000 kilometers of the country’s road network. In Guayaquil, the overpass on Avenue of the Americas collapsed, leaving two people dead.
5. Foreign victims: According to the latest report (20/06/2016 – 16:00), 13 foreigners died during the earthquake (three Colombians, three Cubans, one Dominican, one British, one Irish, two Canadians, one Italian and one German). The two Canadians were members of a family that was living in the affected area. Irish nun Clare Crockett, 33, died in the province of Manabi. Three Cuban doctors are among the dead, identified as Barbara Cruz Ruiz, 46, Leonardo Ortiz Estrada, 53, and Erick Perez de Alejo Quesada, 41. The three general medicine practitioners worked in Pedernales, the town most affected by the earthquake. As reported by the Colombian Foreign Ministry, at least eleven Colombians died. Colombia also reported that it had received 519 requests for assistance with locating people,350 of whom have been found.
6. Number of fatalities: According to official reports, 660 people were killed (29/04/2016 – 16:00) in the earthquake and more than 4,600 injured.
7. Economic losses: President Rafael Correa has estimated that the losses caused by the earthquake will total $3 billion, equivalent to 3% of Ecuador’s GDP.
8. The rescue: 941 search and rescue specialists from various countries are working in the affected areas of Portoviejo, Manta, Pedernales and Jama. According to the Ecuadorian Chancellor, Guilaume Long, the personnel came from: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Slovakia, Spain, France, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, European Union (European Medical Core) and Venezuela. In addition, 609 Ecuadorian firefighters are working on the rescue efforts. 113 people were rescued alive.
9. Search for missing persons: Online tools have been created to aid the search for missing persons. Photos and details of those missing are being posted with the hashtag #DesaparecidosEC. The hashtag #EncontradosEC is being used to post reports of people found alive. An editable data base has been created to collate information about missing persons and is constantly being updated. Photographs of missing people are being added to a public folder. Google has enabled its people finder search which allows users to search for names of missing people or provide information on their whereabouts. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has enabled a ‘People Locator’ platform.
Another useful tool is a map that is being used to aid rescue services and includes information from victims, damage reports and details of emergency and collection centers.
10. Economic measures. In response to the catastrophe, the Ecuadorian president announced four measures: a) The rise of two points to the value added tax (VAT) from 12 to 14% for one year. b) Anyone whose assets exceed $1 million will have to pay a one-time contribution of 0.9% of their wealth. c) Contribution, for once, the additional 3% on utilities to help earthquake victims. d) Contribution of a day’s salary for those earning more than $ 1,000 for a month; a day’s salary for two months for those earning more than $2,000, and so gradually. The limit is $ 5,000 salary, one day salary per month for 5 months.
10. Donations: From other parts of Ecuador, a great crusade has been undertaken to collect and transport donations to the victims of the earthquake. In Quito alone, 200 tons of water, food and supplies were collected on Sunday and Monday. Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry has opened two bank accounts abroad to receive financial donations.
Beneficiary: Central Bank of Ecuador
Future Credit Account No. 01121807 “CCU SECRETARIA GESTIÓN RIESGOS/PLANTA CENTRAL”
SWIFT Code: BCENECEQ
Beneficiary Bank: Latin American Reserve Fund (FLAR)
SWIFT Code: FLARCOBB
ECB account no. at FLAR: 10602
Intermediary Bank: Bank of America NA
SWIFT Code: BOFAUS3N
FLAR account no. at Bank of America: 6550139851
Bank: Bank of America NY
Account no: 3751560139
Coordinates: BANK type ZBA bank
Bank ID: 111000012
Denominated Account name: UNDP REP IN ECUADOR $ ACCT
Other ways to help:
Donations through the Pan American Development Foundation – Organization of American States: http://www.padf.org/helpecuador
Donations via PayPal or credit card for Red Cross: https://goo.gl/XwP77v
#JuntosPorManabí. Donations through PayPal at http://www.kahre.org/
Donations through the CARE NGO: http://www.care.org/country/ecuador
Donations through UNICEF: https://www.unicef.org.ec/
Platform to locate donation collection centers near you in Ecuador: http://www.unidosecuador.org/
Locate your nearest collection center in Ecuador and other countries: http://donaciones.misiva.com.ec/