Ecuador’s earthquake recovery set to cost billions of dollars

20 Apr 16

Ecuador’s president has warned that reconstruction costs following Saturday’s devastating earthquake will run into the billions of dollars.

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Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said reconstruction following the 7.8 magnitude quake will run into billions of dollars.

 

More than 400 people died when the 7.8 magnitude quake shook the South American country, causing widespread damage and leaving many trapped under the rubble.

While visiting one of the worst-affected cities and witnessing the destruction firsthand, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said rebuilding will cost billions and take a “huge” toll on the fragile OPEC nation’s economy.

The country’s economy was already in dire straits due to low oil price, which is its biggest source of revenue. Growth forecasts had already been cut to near zero.

Some $600m in credit from international development banks and other lenders was opened immediately, the Ecuadorian government said.

An impact assessment team from the World Bank arrived in the country yesterday, and president Jim Yong Kim said the bank stands ready to support Ecuador and had been in discussion with the government since Saturday in order to “coordinate our support expeditiously”.

Anti-poverty charity Oxfam also dispatched its first shipment of aid to the country yesterday, containing both basic hygiene supplies and clean water.

“We have been in touch with the Ecuadorian Red Cross and other national organisations. They all agree that the most urgent need is for safe drinking water and storage, as well as shelter for thousands who have lost their homes,” explained Enrique García, Oxfam humanitarian coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Oxfam will also be working to prevent diarrhoea and other vector transmitted diseases taking hold due to poor sanitation.

“This was a strong quake and at a depth of 19km, the damage will be extensive,” said Walter Cotte, the Americas regional director for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which have sent volunteers and supplies to respond to the quake. 

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