Responding to the Ecuador earthquake
Educo, a member of the ChildFund Alliance, is supporting 30,000 children in the city of Guayaquil, who have been unable to go to school since the earthquake hit Ecuador.
Following the powerful earthquake which devastated the northern part of Ecuador over the weekend, Educo staff on the ground are evaluating the structural damage that its 41 schools may have suffered in Guayaquil city, which is located close to 500km from the epicentre of the earthquake. Despite the distance, the effects of the tremors have been intensely felt in this coastal town, damaging critical infrastructure such as the collapse of a bridge.
The head of operations in Ecuador, Carlos Moncayo, explained in his initial response in the aftermath of the earthquake: “We were in a state of panic, we could feel the earthquake€¦ they have prohibited us from walking through uneven surface areas. There is broken glass, a collapsed bridge, the power is down, there are no means of communication.”
The earthquake has caused the death of more than 400 people, with the country`s president, Rafael Corea, saying on Monday that the figure would “surely rise, and in a considerable way”. There are still many people trapped in the debris, especially in the coastal region of Pedernales, where the earthquake was particularly intense. Meanwhile, as the people of Ecuador struggle to come to terms with what has happened, the emergency teams continue to work tirelessly amongst the wreckage to save lives.
For the moment, and according to available information, there have been no reports that any of the 30,000 children that Educo works with, or their families, have been hurt, although staff are verifying this information with the educational authorities in the area and with the affected communities.
The 41 schools Educo works with, located in the slums of the Trinitaria Island and Guasmo, remain closed for safety reasons and pending an assessment of the scale of the damage caused. Staff will be working closely with authorities to aid the return to normality for these centres so that children are able to return to school as soon as possible.