Quito, 5 May 2016 – In response to the earthquake that affected Ecuador earlier in April, UN-Habitat is gearing-up its assistance to the Latin American country. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake led to the loss of close to 700 lives, with 28,000 people injured and severe damage to infrastructure and property, especially in the coastal town of Pedernales.
According to government sources, the cost of reconstruction may reach USD 3 billion. UN-Habitat is providing innovative solutions to deal with the aftermath, offering technical advice and hands-onexpertise to the Ecuadorian government in the fields of urban planning, housing, land and property, coastal settlements and risk management. “This is not the classical humanitarian intervention focusing on short-term relief,” said Esteban León, chief technical advisor of urban risk reduction at UN-Habitat. “UN-Habitat is presenting recovery plans that include long-term solutions to enable Ecuador to achieve fast reconstruction that feeds into long-term sustainable urban development.”
Ecuadorian government representatives lauded UN-Habitat’s long-term approach as the right way to handle the recovery process. “The reconstruction in Ecuador needs to be supported by bankable projects that lead to solid and lasting results,” explained Elkin Velasquez, regional director of UN-Habitat. León is currently assessing the affected areas in Ecuador in preparation for additional technical teams from UN-Habitat.