Ecuador is prone to seismic activity given its sits on the Nazca and South American plates. The Ecuadorian government has put measures in place, including better building construction practices since the M7.8 earthquake in 2016.
A magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the Ecuadorian coast. The epicentre was located near the town of San Vicente, northeast of Bahia de Caraquez. No injuries or fatalities were reported however minor cracks were found in buildings and power supplies were interrupted in rural areas. There was no risk of a tsunami.
The strongest earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades has caused massive damage to a wide swath of the country’s central coast; more than 350 people are reported dead and more than 2,500 injured. The 7.8 magnitude temblor struck on Saturday night, April 16, with an epicenter 16 miles southeast of the coastal town of Muisne.
Heavy damage and casualties are reported in Portoviejo, the provincial capital of Manabí, as well as the resort town of Pedernales. The earthquake’s effects have been felt from the city of Esmeraldas in the northwest to the southern port city of Guayaquil, some 250 miles away. The quake and its aftershocks were also felt in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito.
The airports in both Quito and Guayaquil are open, though flight disruptions may still occur. There has been extensive property and infrastructure damage, including buckled roads and collapsed bridges; landslides fueled by recent rains have also closed roads.
“The Ecuadorean spirit knows how to move forward and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments,” says Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who has declared a state of emergency in six of the country’s 24 provinces. Thousands of police, military and rescue workers have been mobilized for the hardest-hit areas.
If you are currently in Ecuador and are in need of assistance, check here for 24-hour emergency contact information. For those who may be planning a trip to any of the affected areas and you have a question about your World Nomads policy, click here.
If you are injured or sick?
The risk of injury is high. Put on sturdy footwear and protective clothing (long sleeved shirts, trousers). Tetanus is a potential health threat for cuts and grazes. Any wound, cut, or animal bites should be immediately cleansed with soap and clean water. Seek immediate medical review should you become injured.
Wash your hands often using soap and water to help prevent the spread of disease. Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs may be used when soap and/or water are not available and hands are not visibly soiled.
Natural disasters can disrupt water supplies and sewage systems. If bottled water is not available, water should be boiled or disinfected.
Food should be carefully chosen to reduce the risk of getting gastrointestinal illness. Avoid salads, uncooked vegetables and milk products, such as cheese. Ensure your food is freshly cooked and has not been sitting around. Food’s that has been cooked and is still hot or fruit that has been washed in clean water and then peeled by the traveler personally are safer to eat.
Gastroenteritis outbreaks can occur following a disaster. Diarrhoea may be accompanied by a high fever or passing blood in the diarrhea. Replacing lost fluids by drinking clean water is important or the use of oral rehydration solutions.
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