Ecuador earthquake: Plan international ready to respond 

Spokesperson available, images and an eye witness account  

Dave Husy, Director, Programs, Plan International Australia, is available for interview. Please contact Plan Australia’s Media Relations Manager Clare Price to arrange: 0490 252 743 or email clare.price@plan.org.au

Quake destruction in Ecuador: photos for publication: http://bit.ly/269L3NU

Plan International is ready to respond after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the northern coastal town of Muisne in Ecuador on Saturday. The death toll currently sits at 246, with over 2,500 injured.

Widespread severe damage is reported and a state of emergency has been declared in six provinces: Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo. The most affected provinces are Manabí and Esmeraldas. There have been a number of aftershocks. This is Ecuador’s largest earthquake since 1979. 

The Ecuador Government has announced an emergency fund for USD$300.000.000; humanitarian aid is being delivered in the most populated and accessible areas. 

“Our first priority is to ensure children and families are safe, providing them with essentials they need such as food, water and shelter,” says Dave Husy, Plan International Australia’s Director of Programs. “Plan Australia sponsors 800 children in Ecuador; we’re doing our best to account for each and every child.”

Plan International Ecuador staff are working to assess the damage. “We’re ready to coordinate with partners and support affected children and their families,” said Rossana Viteri, Country Director of Plan International Ecuador.

Eye witness account: Elizabeth Chacon, Plan International’s programme unit manager in Manabi said “So far three of our staff have lost family members, including one who lost their son and grandson. The majority of our houses have been damaged. The terrace in one of our colleague’s house collapsed during the earthquake. All people spent the first night in fear in open spaces such a parks, piazzas and designated safe areas. Most of us couldn’t sleep.  Plan International has provided tents to local municipality as safe shelter for affected people.”

Plan International Australia has been operating in Ecuador for more than 50 years and works with children in communities across the country. Australian Sponsors of children in Ecuador will be notified if their sponsored child has been affected by the disaster.

The Ecuador Government has temporarily closed in schools in the provinces affected and approximately 14,600 police officers and military officers have been deployed to the affected area. 

Editors’ notes:

Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.