Ecuadorian Earthquake “Truly Terrifying” says World Vision Staff

Ecuador's worst earthquake in decades hit Saturday, devastating the South American country. World Vision began responding immediately.
Ecuador's worst earthquake in decades hit Saturday, devastating the South American country. CREDIT: World Vision/Julia Carrion

QUITO, Ecuador (April 18, 2016) International aid and development agency World Vision is on the ground and responding to a 7.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Manabi, northwest Ecuador. The quake happened on Saturday evening (local time) and has claimed at least 350 lives and left more than 2,000 people injured. Ecuador’s president said he believes the death toll will rise in the coming days as the extent of the disaster becomes clearer. Hundreds of aftershocks have been recorded since the deadly earthquake first hit. The Ecuadorian government declared a state of emergency with the provinces of Manabi, Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo particularly affected.

Because of World Vision’s presence in Ecuador for nearly four decades, the aid agency was able to begin responding immediately to the disaster. Emergency teams set up two temporary shelters, distributed tents, hygiene products, diapers, food, water, and more. [See photos and this video of World Vision’s emergency response teams on the ground]. There is a rapid response team currently enroute to Riobamba (in the province of Chimborazo) Monday afternoon to distribute other emergency supplies, including bottled water, toilet paper, noodles, cans of tuna fish, and toys and art supplies for young children.

“This is the worst earthquake to strike Ecuador since 1979.  It was a truly terrifying event felt across the country. The people of Ecuador spent a long, sleepless night worried about further shocks,” said World Vision’s National Director in Ecuador, José Luis Ochoa. “Right now, our primary concern is ensuring the needs of children and their families are met. World Vision is in the process of setting up Child Friendly Spaces where children and young people can access psychosocial care and mitigate any emotional distress.”

There are reports at least 300 buildings have been completely destroyed, while countless more are damaged and unsafe for habitation right now. Damage to telecommunications and road infrastructure has left some communities cut-off. All of World Vision’s staff and children in the organization’s program areas are safe and accounted for. However, 7 of World Vision’s development programs near the epicenter are reporting no electricity and no running water. The aid agency will be scaling up to reach 10,000 people in the hardest-hit areas, including Manabi, Esmeraldas, and Los Rios, with emergency relief items like mattresses, mosquito nets, hygiene supplies, kitchen kits (pots, pans, plastic cups, plates, utensils, bowls) and water treatment systems.

To donate to World Vision’s emergency response in Ecuador, please visit or call 1-888-562-CHILD (1-888-562-4453).

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • Aid agency begins responding immediately to hardest-hit areas