Ecuador Earthquake, emergency, quake, disaster, aid, natural disaster, Ecuador

Ecuador Earthquake: ‘Our immediate priority is to provide people with clean water to prevent the outbreak of disease’

Our teams are gearing up to deliver clean water and sanitation to families in the worst affected localities 

By Action Against Hunger

Apr 21 2016

Our teams are gearing up to deliver clean water and sanitation to families in the worst affected localities of Muisnes and Chamanga, which remain without power and water and have not yet been reached by aid agencies.

“In Chamanga alone 2,500 people have been affected but they’ve not yet received any help since aid efforts have mainly been focusing on the area of Pedernales more to the South,” said Action Against Hunger’s Lys Aranga. “People have sought shelter in tents, churches, parks and schools. Our immediate priorities are to provide people with access to clean drinking water and establish adequate hygiene conditions to prevent the outbreak of disease.”

More than 180 localities have been left without power and access to water. Drinking water also risks being contaminated by sewage given that sewage systems have been damaged. “Distributing water filters to families at times of emergency can reduce the risk of water-related disease by 40 per cent,” explained Pablo Alvalde, a water, sanitation and hygiene expert with Action Against Hunger.

We mobilised three teams of emergency response experts in the first 24 hours after the quake and relief items including water filters and hygiene kits have already been dispatched to Esmeraldas. Today, additional materials are scheduled to arrive including 1,000 chlorinated water tanks and another 1,000 water filters from Colombia, and treatment systems for household water, water pumps and distribution points for safe water from Panama. 

Our teams are also preparing the needed equipment to put together so-called "baby tents," which are safe spaces where young children and their mothers can receive psychosocial support to cope with the impacts of the disaster and learn more about hygiene practices that can prevent the spread of new diseases among children. 

Copyright: El Comercio, Ecuador