On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s northern Pacific coast, resulting in more than 650 deaths, thousands of injuries, and damage that left more than 22,000 people homeless.
Direct Relief established immediate contact with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health and offered assistance in the form of emergency medicines and medical supplies.
Direct Relief’s extensive inventory of medical resources – prescription medications, health-related supplies, hygiene products – were available as a result of in-kind donations from leading pharmaceutical and consumer health companies with which Direct Relief partners on an ongoing basis, including Baxter International Inc., BD, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, and Unilever.
On April 29th, Direct Relief chartered a 767 cargo aircraft to deliver more than 47 tons of medications and supplies worth more than $2.1 million (wholesale) to Ecuador.
Supporting Local Partners
Direct Relief’s in-country partners, including Patrulla Aerea Civil Colombiana (PAC) and the Ecuadorian Red Cross, as well as the Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health, helped identify and distribute the emergency medicines and supplies to hospitals and facilities caring for people affected by the earthquake in 16 cities throughout Ecuador’s northern Pacific coast.
Public healthcare facilities and partner NGOs in the following cities of Ecuador that have received emergency shipments of donated medical material resources from Direct Relief include:
- El Carmen Tosagua
- Esmeraldas Chore
- Flavio Alfaro Junin
- Guayaquil Jipijapa
- Manta Santa Ana
- Pajan Portoviejo
- Pedernales Pichincha
- Puerto Viejo 24 de May
- San Vicente Sucre
FedEx supported Direct Relief’s disaster response with trucks to transport medicines and supplies to facilities servicing earthquake survivors in the most remote and rural regions of the county.
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health advised that Direct Relief’s shipment was the single largest infusion of emergency medical aid received by Ecuador following the Earthquake.
Stories from the Field
Direct Relief’s response is always excellent. That this foreign organization responded with such solidarity and so quickly to the terrible crisis that Ecuador suffered in the earthquake, having expressed their solidarity so quickly and generously, fills us with gratitude. Medicines, supplies, and other materials for first aid, sent were exactly what we needed, and allowed us to serve more injured people in the hospital of La Junta de Beneficencia.” — Dr. Luis Sarrazin, former Minister of Public Health of Ecuador and medical advisor for La Junta de Beneficencia. La Junta de Beneficencia was one of Direct Relief’s beneficiaries of the 47 tons of medical aid delivered to Ecuador shortly after the earthquake that struck on the 16th of April 2016.
The aid we received almost immediately from Direct Relief was very beneficial. My medical colleagues in Guayaquil, Quito, La Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil, contacted me immediately and began to coordinate emergency medical car. We had and continue to have a difficult job in organizing medical services to meet so many injured people. Another problem was and still is the number of respiratory problems due to aspiration of asbestos. The health consequences of the quake also presented in infections and other complications due to compromised water quality. I estimate that about 600 people were the beneficiaries of the donated medical aid that supported our efforts to provide relief. We would like to take this opportunity to thank once again Direct Relief for the generous donations we received.” — Dr. Viteri Velasco, president of Fundacion Bahia 2000
Looking Forward: From Disaster to Recovery
As it has done on an ongoing basis before the earthquake, Direct Relief will continue to meet requests for medical assistance from health facilities and organizations serving the most vulnerable people in Ecuador. Direct Relief’s support will help strengthen the resilience of the health system as the country rebuilds damaged infrastructure and continues to care for those impacted by the earthquake.