Emergencies, General, Media Releases, News article written on the 18 Apr 2016

Oxfam has deployed an expert assessment team to determine its full response to a major earthquake that struck off the coast of Ecuador on the evening of 16 April (local time).

The team will be liaising with Oxfam staff and partners in Ecuador to assess the extent of the disaster and determine how best to assist the government response.

Official reports say the strongest quake to hit Ecuador since 1979 has left more than 230 people dead, hundreds wounded and the earthquake has caused severe damage to six regions in the northwest region of the country.

“With strong aftershocks still going on and initial reports of severe damage to buildings and infrastructure, there is not a moment to waste,” said Meg Quartermaine, Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Manager.

“A state of emergency has been declared in Ecuador. Our priority now is to get an expert assessment of the earthquake’s impact in order to offer aid in the most appropriate and effective way to those people who are affected the most. We will coordinate with local authorities so that our actions are complementary to government agencies.”

Oxfam has worked in Ecuador for almost 30 years, running disaster preparedness, social, economic, and gender justice programs with Indigenous communities and others.

Oxfam is already receiving donations for its humanitarian response. Donations can be made online at https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/international-crisis-fund or by calling 1800 034 034.

For interviews, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Alice Plate on 0418 873 782 or alicep@oxfam.org.au