In response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador on 16 April, FCSS deployed a 16-person UNDAC team and 12 support team members from Télécoms Sans Frontières, MapAction, Americas Support Team, Handicap International, as well as an associate expert from the European Union. The first UNDAC team members arrived on 17 April. The team provided direct coordination and assessment support to the Government of Ecuador, by establishing an OSOCC in Portoviejo, a Sub-OSOCC in Pedernales, and a Reception/Departure Centre at Manta Airport. An advisory presence in Guayaquil and a coordination support team in the capital Quito were also established to provide support to the Humanitarian Country Team and ensure close linkages with the Government coordination structure. The overall priority was to support and advise the Government in its lead coordination role, particularly throughout the urban search and rescue phase, with more than 14 international teams having deployed, as well as in the coordination of needs assessments at field and capital level. The experience and lessons learnt from the UNDAC team deployment have largely contributed to the design and programme of the Coordinated Assessment and Information Management Course (CAIM) in Guatemala (June 2016) and the OSOCC operations course in Costa Rica (August 2016).
Photo credit: Jose Luis German/UNDAC 2016