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Earthquake in Ecuador: What You Need to Know & How You Can Help

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On Saturday, April 16, Ecuador suffered a 7.8 earthquake. According to the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter was 16 miles south of Muisne, Ecuador.

Image Credit: David Iturralde

Image Credit: David Iturralde

The earthquake in Ecuador was nearly 12 miles in depth, and several strong aftershocks followed the initial quake.

Damage is reported across Ecuador, but the coastal areas were most severely affected. Buildings collapsed, highways buckled, and the area has been without power since the earthquake.

Image Credit: David Iturralde

Image Credit: David Iturralde

It is estimated that more than 2,000 people are injured, and the death toll has reached 350, but that number is expected increase. As a result of the collapsed buildings, many Ecuadorians in the affected areas are homeless.

Ecuador’s National Police and armed forces have been searching the rubble for survivors and bodies since Sunday.

President Rafael Correa was visiting the Vatican when the earthquake hit, but he cut his trip short to return to Ecuador.


Image Credit: David Iturralde

Aid relief organizations and doctors are traveling to Ecuador to provide assistance.

On Sunday, April 17, UNICEF delivered over 20,000 water purification tablets to Pedernales.

On April 18, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, began planning a major aid airlift to Ecuador. The airplane will carry tents, plastic sheets, sleeping mats, and kitchen sets. About 18,000 mosquito nets embedded with repellent will also be given to those in need in light of risks associated with the Zika virus.

Ecuadorians not affected by the earthquake have been asked to donate clothes, over-the-counter painkillers, and canned food.

How You Can Help

Ceiba Foundation

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is collecting donations that will help communities in the northern part of Jama County. The Foundation is currently working in the area, along with Finca Mono Verde and Third Millennium Alliance, and wants to help poor communities that might not receive aid right away. It is also accepting items such as tarps, water filters, batteries, non-perishable food, and flashlights in Quito. Click here to learn more.

Ecuadorian Red Cross

The Red Cross in Ecuador has mobilized over 800 volunteers and staff members, all performing search and rescue, and is providing first aid and psychological support. Click here to learn more and to donate.


Oxfam is currently collecting donations for hygiene kits that can help prevent the spread of disease, clean drinking water, and toilet and washing facilities erected for those made homeless by the earthquake. Learn how you can help here.


After donating 20,000 water purification tablets, UNICEF’s teams are on the ground in Ecuador, providing mosquito nets to those in need. The organization estimates that about 150,000 children are affected by the earthquake. Click here to donate or learn more.

Operation USA

The Los Angeles-based relief agency is currently assessing the situation, and is preparing to provide medical aid and drinking water. Click here to donate.


CARE has a team of 21 members on the ground in Ecuador, but has assessed that the greatest needs are food, shelter, and water. You can donate and learn more about the efforts here.

By Stephanie Ervin for