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At least 150,000 children affected by Ecuador earthquake - UNICEF

2016-04-19

NEW YORK/GENEVA/PANAMA CITY/QUITO/TORONTO, April 19, 2016 – At least 150,000 children are affected by the April 15 earthquake in Ecuador, according to initial UNICEF estimates. 

“We are in a race against time to protect children from disease and other risks common in such emergencies,” says Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in Ecuador.

According to preliminary government reports, the earthquake damaged 119 schools, affecting 88,000 children. Some 805 buildings have been destroyed and 608 have been damaged. Two hospitals have entirely collapsed in Portoviejo and Chone.

In some of the worst hit areas, mudslides are causing further damage to infrastructure and hindering access of relief teams and supplies. Some cities are still without full power and only 40 per cent of communication lines are working. 

“UNICEF is in the hardest hit regions working to help the most vulnerable, but given the enormity of the damage, there is much more work to be done,” says David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. “We are reaching out to Canadians to demonstrate the compassion they are known for, and to help the children of Ecuador in this great time of need.”

UNICEF is concerned about health, water and sanitation conditions in the coastal areas – which are already considered hotspots for Zika, Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya.

UNICEF teams are in Pedernales and Esmeraldas, two of the hardest hit areas, assessing children’s needs and coordinating the response. 

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UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.