*PLEASE NOTE* UNICEF can provide a spokesperson in Ecuador.
Drone footage of devastation for broadcasters and digital desks here
DUBLIN/ QUITO, 22 April 2016 – UNICEF children’s agency has confirmed the arrival of its first airlift of urgent emergency supplies to Ecuador, from its European logistics hub in Denmark.
The specially chartered plane was carrying shelter and water and sanitation items for the survivors of last Saturday’s massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
Staff in UNICEF’s supply division packed pallets onto trucks before transporting them to Billund airport in Denmark, from where they were flown out to Quito airport in Ecuador’s capital city.
The cargo is now being unloaded on the tarmac at Quito airport, for immediate distribution to those in need.
UNICEF has already delivered thousands of mosquito nets, shelter materials and 20,000 water purification tablets in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. The agency was able to respond quickly because most of those materials were pre-positioned in surrounding countries.
“We have managed to hone in on the highly-affected. 113 people have been saved from the rubble, but 587 are now known to have died. We are in a race against time to protect children from disease,” said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in Ecuador.
UNICEF estimates that as many as 150,000 children in the north-west of the country were affected by the quake.
UNICEF puts the death toll so far at 587 people, while a further 8,340 are injured. 155 people are still missing, 25,000 more are being put up in shelters.
Some areas have been completely devastated. UNICEF’s emergency team visited one town which is completely without water. Our teams report seeing houses that have not just been destroyed but which have ‘completely disappeared’. Hospitals and health centres have been devastated; 150 schools are affected.
UNICEF teams are on the ground in two of the worst-affected areas – Pedernales and Esmeraldas – assessing children’s needs and coordinating the response.
UNICEF is particularly concerned about health, water and sanitation conditions in the coastal areas – which are already considered hotspots for Zika, Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya.
Education and child protection are also being prioritised. UNICEF psychologists will work with young people traumatised by this week’s events.
UNICEF has been working in Ecuador since 1973. For more than 40 years, it has advocated for their rights to quality education, good health, nutrition and protection from the first moment of life. This is one of the worst emergencies Ecuador has experienced. UNICEF is there now for any children who need assistance in the wake of the earthquake.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
UNICEF can provide a spokesperson in Ecuador, on request. We also have quality images and video of the devastation, survivors and of our supply centre, again on request (in order to get past your firewalls).
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.ie.
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