17 April 2016
A powerful earthquake has hit Northern Ecuador.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck at around 7pm local time on 16 April (midnight GMT). Around 238 fatalities have been confirmed and more than 1,500 people have been injured. These numbers look set to rise.
The epicentre was close to the city of Esmeralda, with Manabí, Guayas, Los Ríos, Santo Domingo, Santa Elena also affected.
There are people trapped in damaged buildings and many households are experiencing power cuts. Many people have been evacuated from their homes.
The Ecuadorian Red Cross has 800 volunteers in the area ready to support. Staff from the International Federation of the Red Cross are being sent in today to support an initial rapid assessment.
As more information emerges, the Ecuadorian Red Cross will start the co-ordination of humanitarian aid and relief for the affected population.
A 7.3 magnitude earthquake also struck Kumamoto, Japan on 16 April. It was the second earthquake to hit the area within two days.
The Japanese Red Cross Society is playing a leading role in relief efforts. Forty-one people have been killed and 2,000 people were injured. Over 1,000 people received medical treatment at the Kumamoto Red Cross hospital.
Thousands of people are sleeping outdoors in open spaces as they fear another earthquake. Red Cross teams have distributed 5,000 blankets, 1,000 tarpaulins and sleeping mats, as well as kits to support 500 families.
When emergencies happen, the Red Cross must be ready to act as soon as we're needed.
Thanks to the Disaster Fund, we can make sure we're ready to give people the help they need in an emergency – whether it's food, shelter, health care, or another form of support.
Please donate to the Disaster Fund.
Story updated 18 April