Canada's response to the Earthquake in Ecuador

On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Ecuador and was followed by a series of aftershocks. With millions of people affected, the impact of the earthquake prompted international response.

In close collaboration with the Government of Ecuador, Canada took swift action and provided multi-faceted support which resulted in critical assistance delivered to Canadian citizens and the affected population. This included consular and humanitarian assistance, as well as the deployment of the Canadian Disaster Assessment Team.

Humanitarian response – $2 million

Following the earthquake in Ecuador, Canada responded immediately to the needs of affected people by providing a $2 million funding commitment. The funding will support immediate efforts to help humanitarian partners on the ground provide shelter, clean water, health, sanitation and other basic services:

International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) – $500,000: The IFRC will help provide trauma care, first aid, psychosocial support, clean drinking water, hygiene kits and temporary shelter to those injured and/or affected by the earthquake. The funding will be channeled to the Ecuador Red Cross, which has been the backbone of the civilian response to the earthquake to date.

Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF) – $560,000: The CHAF is a GAC-financed draw-down fund managed by the Humanitarian Coalition and designed to provide a timely and effective response to rapid-onset crises.

  • CARE Canada ($300,000) – Via the CHAF, CARE will provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, temporary shelter, including tarps, and other non-food items to up to 2,000 affected families in the province of Manabí.
  • Plan Canada ($260,000) – Via the CHAF, Plan will provide tents and hygiene kits to affected families and conduct hygiene promotion sessions for vulnerable people in the province of Manabí.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) – $200,000: PAHO, the regional branch of the World Health Organization for the Americas, will provide support to restore local health services, ensure epidemiological surveillance and vector control, and promote coordination efforts in the emergency response across the health sector.

Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) – $100,000: Under Canada’s Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force's CFLI, funding was provided to two local organizations to provide support to distribute basic items, such as medicine, non-perishable food, insect repellent, mattresses, blankets, to the most affected communities in the provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabí.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) – $320,000: IOM will provide tarpaulins and toolkits to affected people as well as identify needs of people displaced by the earthquake. In close cooperation with local authorities, IOM will also ensure safe living conditions for displaced people living in temporary shelter.

UNICEF – $320,000: UNICEF will help provide water, sanitation and hygiene in temporary shelters, health centres, learning spaces and communities. This includes distributing water purification tablets, mosquito nets, tarps and vitamin A capsules to affected people, including vulnerable children.

Deployment of Canadian Red Cross Field Hospital

With support of the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross deployed a field hospital on April 24, 2016, to support relief efforts in Ecuador. In coordination with the Ecuadorian Red Cross, the field hospital is supporting Ecuador’s Ministry of Health’s ongoing care and provision of mobile health outreach activities. The infrastructure being deployed includes a 20-bed, self-sustained tented hospital and base camp to provide health services, including:

  • Basic emergency obstetric care and transfer for complications;
  • Reproductive health services for men and women;
  • Outpatient care for adults and children with special attention to chronic illnesses;
  • Water treatment capacity for the clinic; and
  • Basic first aid and medical care through mobile clinics to hard-to-reach communities.

Once the mission is complete, the field hospital and associated equipment will be donated to the Ecuadorian Red Cross for their use in future disaster responses.

Canadian Disaster Assessment Team (CDAT)

In response to a request from the Ecuadorian Government, Canada deployed the CDAT on April 19, 2016. Its mandate is to undertake a full and rapid assessment of the situation on the ground, as well as the humanitarian needs of those most affected. Thereafter, it will make early recommendations on an appropriate Canadian response, in addition to the humanitarian assistance funding already committed. The assessment team includes six experts from Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.

Assistance for Canadians in Ecuador

Standing Rapid Deployment Team (SRDT)

Six members of the Standing Rapid Deployment Team (SRDT) were deployed to Ecuador to provide support to the Embassy of Canada in Quito, the Consulate in Guayaquil and the on-going Canadian consular efforts near the epicentre on the coast. The SRDT is a unit of specialized officials deployed to work alongside Canada’s embassies and consulates personnel to provide critical services to Canadians in distress during emergencies.

Emergency assistance

Consular officers in Quito and members of the SRDT, assisted by the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, worked around the clock to locate and ascertain the well-being of Canadians on the ground. Canadian officials also worked closely with our allies and local authorities to coordinate and share information to aid in the response efforts.

In addition, capacity in the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa was increased to respond to more than 800 calls and emails from Canadians in Ecuador and their families in Canada, and to make over 1000 calls to Canadians believed to be in the affected areas. This service remains available 24 hours a day.

We were in contact with our warden network in Ecuador to obtain information on the situation on the ground, which contributed to the humanitarian assessment. These wardens were also very helpful in disseminating emergency messaging to Canadians in their area. Wardens are volunteer members of the Canadian community who play a vital role in the Government of Canada’s response to emergencies abroad. Under the direction of the Canadian Embassy, the warden’s role in an emergency is to relay messages to Canadians and report on events in the areas they reside.

Contact information

Canadian citizens in Ecuador requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Embassy of Canada in Quito at 593 (2) 245-5499 or call Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre collect at +1 613 996 8885‎. An email can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca.

Friends and relatives of Canadian citizens known to be in Ecuador should contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling +1 613 996 8885 or +1 800 387 3124, or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

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