Late on Saturday, April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador. It lasted for more than a minute. It was the biggest earthquake the country has experienced in over 40 years.
At least 270 people are known to have died and that number is expected to rise as rescue teams recover bodies. Thousands of people have been injured and at least one million people have been affected by the tremors.
The earthquake affected mostly coastal areas in the north-west of the country. One of the worst-hit regions was Manta and Pedernales where at least 91 people have died. Ecuador's President has declared a state of emergency. Search and rescue teams have been deployed to the most affected areas in addition to 10,000 troops and 3,500 police.
Ecuador is one of the poorest countries in South America. Unemployment rates are high. The Ecuador government has announced that around $300 million dollars is available for relief efforts. There will be urgent needs around maternal and obstetric care as well as food, water, sanitation and shelter.
Given Ecuador's huge army deployment, its experience in dealing with earthquakes and the strong regional response, World Jewish Relief is not launching an appeal at this time. However, our programming team continues to monitor the situation and will respond if things develop.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by these terrible events.