Ecuador experienced a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, April 16, at 18:58 (6:58 p.m. EST). The epicenter was located off the pacific coast and affected mainly coastal areas. Populated areas in the highlands, such as the capital Quito, felt tremors but to a much lesser degree.
The Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas Espinel, has informed the public that the earthquake affected six dwellings in the city, three of them in the Southern district, which is outside the traditional tourist areas. 16 people have been evacuated to municipal shelters. At this time, damage to patrimonial spaces in Quito’s Historical District Center is being evaluated.
The airport in Quito, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, is operating normally. The Crisis Coordination Committee of Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport has already conducted an assessment of the airport infrastructure and given it a clean bill of health. Flights are operating normally out of Quito, but other airports may be experiencing suspensions and delays. Tourists are asked to contact their airline and to stay informed of the status of their flights. The Twitter account @AeropuertoUIO is continuously updated.
The Municipality of Quito has sent 120 first responders including paramedics, rescue workers and emergency personnel to the affected coastal areas. Additionally, ambulances, fire engines, and support machinery will be sent to aid those in need.
The city of Quito remains safe. The city’s public services including water, power, telephone service, internet service, and public transportation, are functioning normally. In a purely precautionary and preventive measure, the mayor of Quito has ordered that all public events and venues including movie theaters, entertainment centers, coliseums, dance clubs, etc., be suspended for the next 72 hours. Tourist venues, located mainly in La Mariscal and the Historical District center, are functioning on a partial basis as a result of the State of Emergency. While tourism operations within Quito’s urban area are functioning relatively normally, some museums and tourist sites in the Historical District will not be open.
Mayor Rodas (@mauriciorodasec) has urged locals and visitors to remain calm due to potential aftershocks, and to stay informed using official sources; to have an emergency kit ready, and to be aware of the safety and meeting points designated for emergencies. If you are a visitor in Quito, you’re asked to stay in touch with your hotel and embassy to receive instructions and official information. http://www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/noticias/ http://www.quito.gob.ec/ , www.quito-turismo.gob.ec
The public and private sectors are pooling efforts to help those affected in the populated coastal areas. The Municipality of Quito welcomes donations of non-perishable food items, clothing and blankets, and will ensure they’re delivered to the affected areas. Locations for delivery include Patronato San José (Chile and Benalcazar Streets),Carolina Park, churches of the Metropolitan District, Tribuna del Sur (Rostrum of the city’s South), and the Quorum Convention Center.