More than 660 people were killed and over 750,000 were affected by the earthquake that hit Ecuador on April 16. The provinces closest to the epicenter, Esmeraldas and Manabí, were among the worst affected. More than 7,000 buildings and 560 schools were destroyed, and more than 32,500 people are currently living in shelters and temporary camps. The earthquake also damaged roads and bridges, causing considerable material damage, making travel dangerous and complicating communications. Some towns in the northwest of the country are inaccessible.
Handicap International’s teams provided humanitarian response in the days following the earthquake and immediately set about assessing the needs of the people affected, particularly in Manabí province.
The organization partnered with local and international stakeholders in order to coordinate the relief effort and adapt it to the victims’ needs. It also supported existing mobile teams: two physical therapists visited communities and health centers with the national authorities, including the Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health and the Technical Secretariat for the inclusive management on disabilities (SETEDIS). Handicap International plans to launch another intervention in Ecuador, in collaboration with other local partners.