28 June 2016 Child earthquake survivors in Ecuador still living in overcrowded shelters Quito, Ecuador, June 28, 2016 – SOS Children’s Villages is concerned for the thousands of Ecuador earthquake survivors still living in overcrowded shelters. The organization warns that the state of these shelters poses a direct risk to the health and safety of Ecuador’s most vulnerable, particularly children. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck this past April, left over 720,000 people in need of assistance and devastated the region mainly in the coastal towns of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales. Over 1,000 buildings were destroyed and more than 829 were damaged, including 281 schools. According to OCHA, over 25,000 people still live in shelters, leaving them vulnerable to severe protection risks, such as family separation, violence and exploitation. Earthquake survivors are in dire need of clean water and sanitation, shelter, nutritional and psychological support, as well as protective spaces for children. There is also a concern that families in need of support -- due to losing their livelihoods and homes -- may abandon or give up their children. “We must work with other organizations and public institutions to reduce the risk of loss of parental care. One way to help strengthen families affected by this tragedy is to provide job training and entrepreneurship support,” said Gontran Pelissier, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Ecuador. SOS Children’s Villages launched an appeal immediately after the earthquake to address the needs of earthquake-affected children and families. To date, the organization has worked to: Ensure the safety and protection of children living in temporary shelters Provide social and emotional care to children and families impacted by the earthquake Mobilize a medical team to support the Pedernales New Terminal Shelter Offer internet services and electricity supply through an ICT corner in Pernadeles Since 1963, SOS Children’s Villages in Ecuador has supported vulnerable children and families through its six SOS Villages. With its presence and long-term experience working with vulnerable communities, SOS was able to quickly respond and address the needs of earthquake survivors.