Following a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is mobilizing to help affected families. WFP spokesperson Steve Taravella said today, “WFP is coordinating with the Ecuadorian Government and mounting an emergency response to assist the most vulnerable of the people affected.”
The earthquake, which struck the central coast on Saturday, has left hundreds dead and destroyed homes and roads. The Ecuadorian Red Cross “estimates that the numbers of affected people could reach up to 70,000 and 100,000 and with 3,000 to 5,000 needing emergency shelter.”
WFP, the largest hunger relief organization, will assist with food aid. While full needs are still being assessed, WFP will be preparing cash transfers to about 20,000 people who will be at risk of hunger because of the disaster. The charity Action Against Hunger is also deploying emergency teams and has stocks of food ready if needed.
WFP has operated in Ecuador prior to this disaster. Hunger has been a crisis for the impoverished country and poor families have little to fall back on when disaster strikes. WFP says “Around 42 percent of indigenous children under five are stunted” in Ecuador from malnutrition.
Maria Villalobos of Save the Children warns, “Children are among the worst affected by this disaster, with many being injured and left without homes.” Ecuador is also host to refugees from Colombia.
UNICEF says it has delivered 20,000 water purification tablets to the affected areas. The UN Children’s Agency, along with WFP and others, will continue to assess the needs and respond as needed.
Read the full article at Examiner.