Video: Raquel from Santa Elena talks to Plan International staff about the earthquake hitting her home.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has so far claimed the lives of more than 400 people and left 2,500 injured.
Donate to the Ecuador appealPlan International is part of Ecuador's national Humanitarian Country Team and we work in 4 of the 6 areas where a state of emergency has been declared: Manabí, Guayas, Los Ríos and Santa Elena.
Our priorities are providing immediate assistance to affected children and families – including safe water, shelter and emergency kits, as well as education support.
"Houses moved and collapsed before my eyes"
“I was at the city centre in Manati when the earthquake struck. I saw the houses move and many collapsed before my eyes. It was a desperate situation,” said Uvaldino Verdesoto, a Plan International staff member in nearby Manabi.
“I had to calm the people around me. Everybody was panicking. It was challenging to escape to open space due to debris everywhere.”
"People spent the night in fear"
“So far 3 of our staff have lost family members, including one who lost their son and grandson,” said Elizabeth Chacon, Plan International’s programme unit manager in Manabi.
“The majority of our houses have been damaged. The terrace in one of our colleague’s house collapsed during the earthquake.
"All people spent their night in fear in open spaces such a parks, piazzas and designated safe areas. Most of us couldn’t sleep.”
Plan International has provided tents to the local municipality as safe shelter for affected people.
"There was total chaos"
“Here in Santa Elena it has not been as grave as in Manabí or Esmeraldas, but it was still felt very strongly. The worst part was that even though official information was out, people started to panic because they were afraid of a tsunami. There was total chaos and people fled their houses. There is a lot of fear and alarm in general. The roads collapsed and people could barely move,” said Holger Alfonzo, Plan International’s Santa Elena Programme Unit Manager.
“We have seen people outside with their mattresses and their belongings because they don’t want to get robbed, or lose them if there are more earthquakes and their houses collapse. Right now we are giving out tents, but everything is out in the street,” he added.
Plan International has been operating in Ecuador for more than 50 years and works with children in communities across the country.
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