April 19, 2017
On April 11, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a record of discussions (R/D) with the Government of Ecuador in Quito, the capital city, for the Project for Safe and Resilient Cities for Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster, a technical cooperation project.
Through cooperation with experts, training and other initiatives, the project will formulate tsunami evacuation plans, update disaster risk reduction plans, and strengthen the enforcement system for building regulation management in three pilot municipalities to mitigate the damage caused by earthquakes and tsunamis. The project will also improve the capacity of the Secretary of Risk Management (SGR)  and the Ministry for Urban Development and Housing (MIDUVI)  to support those municipalities.
On April 16, 2016, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 (according to the United States Geological Survey) struck Ecuador with the hypocenter in Manabí Province in the northwest part of the country, causing widespread damage to residences, schools and other buildings, killing more than 660 people and resulting in approximately 30,000 evacuees . Given the large number of lives that were lost due to collapsing structures, the following June, JICA carried out a survey in conjunction with a consultation mission in disaster risk reduction (earthquake), and it was found that land use planning is inadequate, buildings are constructed in inappropriate locations such as on unstable ground, and building regulation management is not being properly enforced by municipal governments. Although building regulations have been established by the central government and are enforced in each municipality, the move toward decentralization has rendered coordination between the central and local governments difficult, a factor affecting how building regulation management is enforced. Based on the results of the survey, the project aims to create a support system with which the SGR and the MIDUVI, which are central government agencies, can provide technical support to municipalities.
Through technical cooperation titled the Project for Enhancement of Earthquake and Tsunami Monitoring Capacity for Tsunami Early Warning, JICA has provided cooperation for improving the capacity to observe and analyze earthquakes and tsunami data, and issuing tsunami warnings. In parallel, with the objective of improving the management capacity for tsunami disaster risk reduction, personnel from coastal municipalities have been invited to Japan. Through these cooperation activities, the SGR, coastal municipalities and JICA have formed a foundation of favorable cooperation on which they can pursue this project.
With the upcoming one-year anniversary of the great quake, the R/D signing was an opportunity for representatives of Ecuador and Japan to reaffirm the importance of developing communities resistant to earthquakes and tsunamis. By strengthening personnel capacity and activities in the pilot municipalities, conducting awareness-raising activities among residents and implementing other initiatives, it is hoped that this project will create a system that facilitates the central government supporting local municipalities, that the efforts to develop communities resilient to disasters will spread nationwide, and that damage caused by future earthquakes and tsunamis will be mitigated.
1: Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos
2: Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda
3: After the April 2016 earthquake, JICA provided supplies, such as tents and blankets, as emergency aid, and has subsequently held multiple seminars on earthquake disaster risk reduction and earthquake-resistant building, shared Japanese knowledge for earthquake disasters and provided other relevant information. JICA also hosted an international workshop in Ecuador for project participants working in the field of disaster risk reduction in Latin America, in which universities, research organizations and public agencies shared their knowledge and experience.
|Country||Republic of Ecuador|
|Project title||Project for Safe and Resilient Cities for Earthquake andTsunami Disaster|
|Planned implementation period||July 2017 to March 2021|
|Executing agency||Secretary of Risk Management, Ministry for Urban Development and Housing|
|Target region, facilities||Three pilot municipalities (Atacames, Portoviejo, Salinas)|
|Specific project details (provisional)||Formulation of tsunami evacuation plans, implementation of evacuation drills, updating of disaster risk reduction plans, strengthening of building regulation management, including the creation of handbooks for the enforcement of building regulation management for three pilot municipalities|