Following the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador’s northwest region, Oxfam has deployed a seven-person team to Ecuador as part of its humanitarian response.

The team, consists of water, sanitation and hygiene experts as well as logisticians to assist the Government response. “We will coordinate with local authorities so that our actions are complementary to government agencies”, said Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s director for Latin America and the Carribean.

Oxfam, in coordination with the Spanish government, has also sent its first two-ton shipment of aid, as part of a multi-agency airlift, to secure basic hygiene and clean water among affected communities.

“The most urgent need is for safe drinking water and storage, as well as shelter for thousands who have lost their homes,” said Enrique Garcia, Oxfam humanitarian coordinator for Latin America and the Carribean.

“Our main purpose now is to get to the people who are most vulnerable to worsening health conditions, because sanitation services have been badly affected and in some cases destroyed. We will also promote preventive measures to help people avoid diarrhea and other vector transmitted diseases,” he added.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs expects at least one million people to be affected by the earthquake. At least 500 lives have been claimed, with over 4000 injuries. Hundreds are still missing.

“The best way to help right now is to donate”, said Tania Escamilla, Oxfam regional Media and Communications Coordinator of Latin America and the Carribean.

Oxfam has launched an emergency appeal and is already receiving donations for its humanitarian response, which can be done online.

The Oxford Students Oxfam Group told Cherwell that they will be fundraising over Trinity Term.

“Of the money that we raise generally for Oxfam, usually half goes towards current emergency appeals, which may, this year include Ecuador but if not, [they] will nonetheless be for very pressing and worthy causes,” they said.

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