Ecuador aid distribution update
The distribution of core relief items provided by the UN Refugee Agency is planned to begin today in order to assist the people affected by the earthquake that struck Ecuador last Saturday (16 April). This is subject to agreement with the authorities locally. The materials, including some 900 tents, 15,000 sleeping mats, 18,000 repellent-impregnated mosquito nets, plastic sheets and kitchen sets, left UNHCR's global logistics hub in Copenhagen and arrived in Quito on Wednesday night. They were loaded onto 16 trucks and transported over badly damaged roads to Santo Domingo, in the centre of the country, and will be taken today to three locations in Manabi Province: Manta, Pernales and Portoviejo.
The aim is to deliver these items to some 40,000 people - refugees, asylum-seekers and local citizens alike - in the communities most affected by the earthquake. UNHCR has already delivered tents and plastic sheeting to Esmeraldas, Jama and Canoa, and has begun work on the construction of a camp to provide essential shelter to scores of displaced families.
At least 580 people died in the 7.8 magnitude quake that shook Ecuador's coast last week, and over 8,000 people were injured. In the worst-affected areas, approximately 40,000 people still need emergency relief items, such as tents and jerry cans. These people are particularly at risk, as many are refugees from neighbouring Colombia. Ecuador is the biggest refugee-hosting country in Latin America, providing international protection to over 200,000 Colombian refugees, many of whom had settled in the earthquake-affected areas. UNHCR is committed to helping the Government Ecuador and its people with support for refugee and host community populations.
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