Ecuador Earthquake: Message from the President

As I write this letter, we have only recently heard the terrible news of the devastating earthquake on the coast of Ecuador. As the death toll continues to rise, many are reported missing, and the country begins to assess the extent of the disaster’s damage, our thoughts are with the people of Ecuador. In the few days since the earthquake, numerous local and international organizations have joined together in efforts to support the affected areas.

Although the coast of Ecuador and other countries may be regionally more prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, it still comes as a shock and challenge to face such a disaster. No country can anticipate an earthquake. However, the existence of strong emergency preparedness and response plans plays a significant role in assisting a nation to quickly respond to the immediate challenges of a natural disaster. This “sleeping infrastructure” plays a key role not only in responding to a crisis, but also in ensuring that its effects are not multiplied and complicated through infectious diseases, malnutrition, and further injury which only serve to exacerbate the burden further.

National Public Health Institutes play a critical role in the preparations for and the response to these types of challenges by establishing strong systems at the national level. IANPHI is grateful for the longtime involvement and work of member institute INSPI Ecuador, and we extend our gratitude for their efforts in the response to this earthquake. 

Mauricio Hernández-Avila

IANPHI President

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