workers survey quake damage in Ecuador

Ecuador Earthquake Update

Photo by Eduardo Naranjo for CRS

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A little more than 1 year after a devastating earthquake shattered lives and destroyed homes in Ecuador, Catholic Relief Services continues to help local communities recover. CRS provides critical services—like temporary housing, and water and hygiene training—and has rebuilt homes in the provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabi.

workers rebuild after Eucuador earthquake
Workers dismantle a roof to be used on new construction in La Chorrera, Ecuador. Photo by Eduardo Naranjo for CRS

These provinces line the coast, and were hardest hit by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on April 16, 2016. The quake claimed hundreds of lives and thousands of homes, affecting 1.2 million people. People not only lost their loved ones and possessions, but also life-sustaining infrastructure. Schools, hospitals, churches, bridges and water systems were seriously damaged.

“I give CRS and its donors the eternal recognition of being the first organization to donate shelters and latrines when the situation became precarious,” says Martha Bernal, a community leader who is helping 134 families in San Jose, Manabi.

To date, CRS has built 125 transitional shelters, with plans to build an additional 575 by September 30. In addition, CRS provides communities with training on secure construction and home and latrine maintenance.

For many people, training on the importance of proper hand-washing and safe water storage in the aftermath of the quake was also particularly helpful.

“I learned about personal cleanliness, and when to wash my hands. I did not practice as much personal hygiene or hand-washing before, but now I’m putting into practice what I learned as I teach my daughter,” says Viviana Elizabeth Estupinan Valencia, one of more than 6,700 people who received training.  

CRS works with more than 90 communities in Esmeraldas and Manabi, helping 12,000 people. Thanks to its generous supporters, CRS has now transitioned to longer-term programming, focusing on shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, and protection.