12,000 shrimp hectares affected by earthquake, according to FAO

A total of 12,000 hectares devoted to shrimp farming were affected by the earthquake hitting Ecuador on April 16, as determined by the first progress report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGAP).

In the document, sent to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the situation of small artisanal fishermen is considered critical in several areas as well as that of shrimping and aquaculture industries.

The report notes that in the most affected cantons of Esmeralda and Manabi provinces by the earthquake there are 309 shrimp farms that require immediate attention because they represent an important source of income and employment for the inhabitants of the region. In addition, there are several fish processing plants that despite being operating well, they have no water.The earthquake also caused great loss of fishing tools, boats and other basic inputs for the restoration of the fishing activity.

“Fishermen are not sailing because they are helping their families, and they have no security of transport and marketing of their production,” the report points out.

Pedro Pablo Peña, FAO representative in Ecuador, ensured aid will be continued to be sent to the region.

“We made a first delivery of victuals with food and cleaning implements for the victims. We are now designing a project to assist the Government in the reintegration of small producers that were affected by the earthquake, providing them with packages of agricultural inputs and technical assistance that is necessary for the revival of the agricultural activity in the area,” he said.

He added that the priorities are to ensure food security of vulnerable populations living in coastal areas affected by the earthquake and recover the productive capacity of artisanal fishermen through the restoration of their fishmongers, boats, and storage facilities.

The losses reported to date in the fisheries-aquaculture sector, according to the report, are as follows:

  • A fish processing plant with structural damage. Processing plants will be out of operation approximately 15 days, a period when they will be unable to export their products.
  • Damage to the walls of the offices of the Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries, the Provincial Directorate of Esmeraldas and the Provincial Directorate of Portoviejo.
  • Fisheries inspection office in Pedernales was destroyed.
  • Loss of cold rooms of a fish packing plant in Pedernales.

Diego Zorrilla, resident coordinator of the United Nations System in Ecuador and recently appointed as Humanitarian Coordinator, stated the earthquake in Ecuador “has been the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the region since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010” and that the United Nations, through its agencies, has offered support from the very beginning. This has resulted in the mobilization of teams to assist in the coordination of humanitarian assistance and the performance of numerous actions on the ground, which have sought to address the most pressing needs in support of the efforts of the State.

Source : http://www.fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?monthyear=&day=27&id=83932&l=e&special=&ndb=1%20target=