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Match Challenge: Your gift doubles to help refugee families with soap, water, and more.

Match Challenge: Your gift doubles to help refugee families with soap, water, and more.

Ecuador earthquake: Oxfam in action

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A group of people receiving emergency supplies at the earthquake shelter in Canoa. The earthquake caused serious damage in this community, and most people have fled, in search of a safer refuge far from the threat of a tsunami. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam Intermon

In the aftermath of Ecuador’s worst natural disaster in decades, Oxfam is providing water and sanitation assistance to thousands of people who are struggling to recover.

In the weeks following the April 16 earthquake in Ecuador, Oxfam has deployed a humanitarian assessment team  and installed  two tons of water piping, delivered with the assistance of donors around the world and the Spanish Agency for International Development Agency (AECID). Oxfam has used this water piping and other equipment to provide clean drinking water and access to sanitation to more than 10,000 people in Portoviejo and Perdernales, two heavily affected areas in the coastal province of Manabí.

Luis Toral removes his belongings from a partially destroyed building in Portoviejo where most buildings are either destroyed or seriously damaged. Those whose houses are still standing are retrieving their possessions, without knowing how long it will be before they can return. The government has not informed homeowners about its plans for reconstruction. Many of them are staying in temporary shelters or with relatives or friends Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam Intermon

The April earthquake killed 660 people and injured 4,605, according to the government. The first tremor had a magnitude of 7.8, and was followed by hundreds of aftershocks, at least five of them of magnitude 6.0 or higher. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed or damaged and there are now around 23,000 people living in temporary shelters. The most urgent need has been to provide safe drinking water and hygiene facilities to help prevent the spread of disease.

John stands next to the remains of his house in Portoviejo. In order to protect his remaining belongings from looters, he sleeps outside his ruined home. His family is being housed, along with another 1,500 people, at the old Portoviejo airport. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam Intermon

The earthquake caused serious damage to the community in Canoa, a small town also in the province of Manabí. With the threat of tsunami looming, many people left in search of a safer refuge. Those who remain are still living in an extremely precarious situation at the side of the main road, without water or food. 

A group of people receiving emergency supplies at the earthquake shelter in Canoa. The earthquake caused serious damage in this community, and most people have fled, in search of a safer refuge far from the threat of a tsunami. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam Intermon

In Portoviejo, the provincial capital with a population of 300,000, the city center is completely blocked off. Most of the buildings were completely destroyed or seriously damaged. Those whose homes that did not totally collapse have been retrieving their possessions despite not knowing how long it will be before they can move back home. 

More than 1,100 people live in make shift shelters in a camp close to Portoviejo airport, where Oxfam is working with local authorities to distribute water and personal hygiene equipment.


Oxfam still needs funds to help provide clean water and sanitation for the survivors of the earthquake in Ecuador. You can help: 

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