The 12 trailer trucks being loaded with aid material at UNHCR warehouses at International Humanitarian City in Dubai. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Thousands of people affected by the 7.8 magnitude quake that shook Ecuador’s coast on April 16 will receive core relief items to be sent on an aircraft from Dubai.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday loaded 12 trailer trucks at its Global Humanitarian Stockpile in Dubai between 10am and 2pm with relief items worth Dh189,858 to be distributed to Manta, an area severely affected by the earthquake.

This is the second shipment to be sent by the UNHCR to areas in Manabi province, where thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and local citizens are in dire need of relief items.

The loading activities for this shipment took place at the International Humanitarian City warehouses in Dubai.

Dalia El Fiki, Senior public information assistant at UNHCR, Abu Dhabi, said the shipment, which will be dispatched from Al Maktoum International Airport on Friday, includes some 7,000 jerry cans, 35,000 sleeping mats, 4,250 plastic sheets, 5,950 kitchen sets and 6,100 solar lamps.

The aircraft, she added, will land in Guayaquil and the cargo will be transported by road to Manta.

“Ecuador is the biggest refugee-hosting country in Latin America, providing international protection to over 200,000 Colombian refugees, many of whom had settled in the earthquake-affected areas. We have identified the neediest among the most affected thousands to receive the relief items.”

The UNHCR, she said, is collaborating with local governments and is coordinating with other local partners and international NGOs to ensure the shipments reach the right beneficiaries and on time, especially that many roads were severely damaged following the earthquake.

At least 580 people died and over 8,000 people were injured following the natural disaster, according to the UNHCR. In the worst-affected areas, approximately 40,000 people still need emergency relief items, such as tents and jerry cans.

“Our previous shipment, which departed from Copenhagen, targeted 40,000 people with items that included tents, sleeping mats, repellent-impregnated mosquito nets, plastic sheets and kitchen sets. Many people who lost their homes are now susceptible to lots of diseases, especially now that the Zika virus is spreading, this is why we made sure to send out mosquito nets for those without a proper shelter.”

The items from the first shipment were loaded onto 16 trucks and transported over badly damaged roads to Santo Domingo, in the centre of the country, and were to be distributed in three locations in Manabi province: Manta, Pernales and Portoviejo.

The UNHCR has already delivered tents and plastic sheeting to Esmeraldas, Jama and Canoa, and has begun work on the construction of a camp to provide essential shelter to scores of displaced families.

The shipment includes the following:

7,000 jerry cans for 28,000 beneficiaries

35,000 sleeping mats

4,250 plastic sheets for 21,250 beneficiaries

5,950 kitchen sets for 29,750 beneficiaries

6,100 solar lamps for 30,500 beneficiaries