Quito, 13 May 2016 – As part of UN-Habitat’s response to the earthquake that affected Ecuador earlier this April, the organization has temporarily appointed an urban planning and reconstruction expert to the country’s Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MIDUVI).

Gonzalo Lacurcia Abraira is an urban planning expert who is part of the UN-Habitat Global Urban Planning and Design Lab. He is currently providing technical advice to the government and MIDUVI on the reconstruction of the affected cities. Because of Ecuador’s location in an area prone to seismic risk,  UN-Habitat is advocating for long-term solutions that will improve urban resilience through smart urban planning and design, among other measures.

“While we all seek to provide emergency relief to the affected populations and speed up the return to normality, it is also of great importance to address the recovery process with a long-term vision that will lead to sustainable urban development and that takes into account strong resilience to future natural disasters,” urged Dr. Joan Clos, Executive director of UN-Habitat.

UN-Habitat has designated Elkin Velasquez, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean as the Emergency Director for Ecuador. He is currently in the country setting-up and coordinating UN-Habitat’s response and holding talks on the reconstruction with the government and other stakeholders.

“In view of Habitat III, it is particularly important that we provide support to Ecuador at this very difficult time for the country and its people,” expressed Dr. Clos. UN-Habitat will maintain an institutional presence at senior level in Ecuador.