Ecuador quake-affected communities begin to rebuild their lives with UNDP supportMay 2, 2016
Quito, Ecuador, May 2, 2016 - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) kicked off community work and debris removal opportunities for Ecuadorians deeply affected by the 16 April earthquake.
Around 30 women and men started working on debris management and repair of critical community infrastructure in the rural coastal city of Las Gilces, around 400km west of the capital Quito, in the hard hit province of Manabi. These activities are the first step to start the reconstruction of communities and revive local economies.
UNDP has immediately allocated $300,000 to place affected communities at the center of the reconstruction process. More families will soon benefit in the five hardest hit provinces, managed by a special UNDP early recovery office based in coastal the city of Manta.
"This is the first debris management and rural infrastructure exercise done in partnership with affected communities, with women and men placed at the center of the reconstruction process," said Nuno Queiros, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative. “Following this first experience we will make the needed adjustments to work with other communities and expand the initiative to other affected areas.”
In the community of Las Gilces more than 600 families’ livelihoods depend on saltworks, fishing and tourism. More than half of all houses in this community were damaged after the earthquake.
"This disaster took the efforts of many years of hard work, " said Narcisa Lucas, owner of the first house from which her fellow community members helped clear rubbles.
"This debris removal opportunity allows us to look into the future with more optimism," said Victoria Demera, member of the Youth United for Community Development and project coordinator.
Some 7,000 homes have been destroyed in the five affected provinces, according to official figures.
UNDP launched an online and mobile fundraising platform (bit.ly/EcuadorSOS) to support quake-affected communities in Ecuador. Funds will be managed by UNDP, which has been ranked as the most transparent development organization in the world for the second consecutive year.
UNDP is also promoting the campaign #EcuadorAquiEstoy with star-studded concerts planned in Miami on 11 May and in Quito on 15 May to help affected communities recover.
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