UNICEF is assisting the Ecuadorian Government with emergency relief to palliate the consequences for thousands of children and their families who live in the zones affected by the earthquake that shook the country last night.

So far, at least 246 persons have lost their lives and over 2,500 are reported injured. The sectors affected the worst are: in Pedernales, Chone, Muisne, Bahía de Caráquez, Manta, Portoviejo, Esmeraldas, and Guayaquil.

After the State of Emergency was declared in six provinces, UNICEF has gone today to Pedernales, the zone most affected by the earthquake, to evaluate, along with the Pan-American Health Organization, the impact and people’s needs, especially for children and adolescents, as well as their families.

Additionally, the UNICEF team has also traveled to the emergency zone to provide assistance in shelters, with the support of UNICEF experts in community and psycho-social communication to assist the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES).

UNICEF has also supplied, through the national Government, 20,000 water purifying tablets, 4,500 mosquito nets, 10 rolls and 165 sheets of tarpaulin to help people affected by the earthquake.

Along with UNICEF’s humanitarian allies, it will send urgent supplies to meet needs in water and sanitation, education and protection, including school kits, tents and water and sanitation equipment.

This is the strongest earthquake that Ecuador has had for decades. Under these circumstances, protecting the most vulnerable must be a priority both to minimize impact and to palliate the trauma that such a situation causes.

UNICEF has raised an international call to collect a million dollars to cover the main needs for children in Ecuador, and we will be giving more precise information as it becomes available.