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IAEA Pleased to Provide Assistance to Ecuador after Earthquake, Director General Says

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IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano is briefed on how medical equipment donated by the IAEA will be used in Ecuador. (Photo: C. Brady/IAEA) 

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano expressed sympathy to the Government and people of Ecuador after the deadly earthquake in April and said the IAEA was pleased to have been able to provide rapid assistance.

"I was greatly moved by the destruction that I saw and the human suffering it caused," Mr Amano said after visiting several sites affected by the earthquake on Wednesday. "But I was also impressed by the effectiveness of the recovery efforts and by the dedication of the rescue teams."

After the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the IAEA quickly dispatched four mobile digital X-ray units, as well as mobile generators, emergency diagnostic equipment and personal radiation detectors, to help doctors deal with the aftermath.

Several hundred people were killed in the earthquake and more than 28,000 were injured.

Ecuadorean officials informed the IAEA Director General that medical services had been severely disrupted by the earthquake and some hospitals had been forced to cease operations. The assistance provided by the IAEA was greatly appreciated.

The IAEA has also supported Ecuador in dealing with another emergency this year, the spread of the Zika virus. It provided Ecuador and several other countries in the region with emergency detection equipment that makes it possible to quickly identify not only the Zika virus, but many other pathogens.

Benefits of nuclear technology

In his meetings with Vice President Jorge Glas and other government officials, Mr Amano highlighted the benefits of nuclear technology in soil conservation, small-scale irrigation, agriculture, food safety and environmental sustainability. These are the focus of IAEA technical cooperation projects in Ecuador.

The Agency is also assisting Ecuador in upgrading its nuclear regulatory framework.

"The IAEA values its partnership with Ecuador and looks forward to further cooperation," Mr Amano said.

Over the past decade, more than 140 scientists from Ecuador have received training at IAEA laboratories as fellows or scientific visitors.

Ecuador is one of the IAEA pilot countries involved in the establishment of a harmonized national radiation dose registry across Latin America. This will improve the safety of patients and workers.

In a meeting with Vice President Jorge Glas (middle), IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano discussed ongoing IAEA support for Ecuador. (Photo: C. Brady/IAEA)

Last update: 08 Jan 2018

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