AMERICA/ECUADOR - A month after the earthquake: religious celebrations while the emergency continues

Monday, 16 May 2016 natural catastrophe  

Rain Rannu

Quito (Agenzia Fides) - One month after the earthquake that has isolated Ecuador's northern coastal area, 120 thousand children are in urgent need of temporary spaces where to attend school lessons. The earthquake on April 16 killed 660 people, destroyed water systems and damaged 33 health centers, and 560 schools and about 10,000 buildings have been seriously damaged. To mark this sad anniversary, there will be religious ceremonies in the Country today, some will be held outdoors because the churches have been destroyed or damaged in Manabi province, the hardest hit by the quake along with that of Esmeraldas. Currently 75% of children have returned to school and more than 30 thousand people are accommodated in official refuges where they receive basic assistance as well as psychological and medical support. "In a region where 1 out of 5 children suffer from chronic diarrhea and malnutrition it is essential to give them the basic tools for their survival and growth", said UNICEF representative in Ecuador. The devastating earthquake has left 7600 families to live in temporary accommodation, and camped in tents donated by Country friends and by international bodies. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 16/05/2016)