Ecuador, Technical Support in Earthquake Resistant Reconstruction

An earthquake of the magnitude of 7.8 (Richter scale) hit Northern Ecuador, on 16 April 2016. Damages were widespread, collapsing structures within hundreds of km’s from the epicenter. Following SDC/HA’s emergency and early recovery interventions, SHA will provide the Ecuadorian government with technical support in capacity building on earthquake resistant construction, capitalizing SDC’s experiences from Pakistan and Haiti.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Climate change and environment
Education facilities and training
Reconstruction and rehabilitation (till 2016)
Disaster risk reduction DRR
18.10.2016 - 31.12.2018
CHF  676’300

An earthquake of the magnitude of 7.8 hit Ecuador on 16 April 2016, with Epicenter near Pedernales. The Ecuadorian Government declared a “State for Exception” for 6 (out of 24) provinces, with Pedernales being declared a “disaster zone” as a result of limited access due to extensive infrastructure damage.

Following SDC/HA’s emergency and early recovery interventions, and based on the request from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the exchange with the Ecuadorian Ambassador in Switzerland, SDC/HA conducted a needs and fact-finding mission for technical support in earthquake resistant reconstruction. Based on this mission, it was decided to launch a direct action, capitalizing the experiences acquired in Pakistan and Haiti.


Reduce the risk of earthquake related damages and fatalities by contributing to earthquake resistant

(re-) construction through capacity building of construction personnel in the earthquake resistant technique of confined masonry. 

The training, knowledge transfer and awareness rasiing will be adapted to the local context and is mainstreamed through the national and local institutions. The intervention consists of a bilateral support to the local NGO EcoSur, who will provide hands-on training sites in confined masonry.

Target groups

Masons and other stakeholders active in construction, including the Ecuadorian educational institutions, and indirectly the population of Pedernales.

Populations in areas affected by the earthquake where damage is particularly high but who are not covered under the MIDUVI (Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda) post-earthquake assistance programme. 

The direct initial beneficiaries are national organisations and institutions which will receive trained master trainers and training packages including all educational material needed for future trainings (SECAP, SENESCYT, Municipality of Pedernales, EcoSur, HOLCIM).

Medium-term outcomes
  • Improved skills in earthquake resistant construction of local masonry, carpenters, engineers and architects.
  • Mainstreaming of confined masonry technique in national educationqal institutions.
  • Support national awareness campaign on the new Ecuadorian Construction Norms with key messages on earthquake resistant confined masonry.

Expected results:  

  • 10 trained master trainers of EcoSur, Municipality of Pedernales, SECAP & Holcim.
  • Trained masons and construction technicians in seismic resistant (re-) construction using confined masonry.
  • Dissemination of Key Messages for the Ecuadorian Construction Norms in collaboration with UNDP.
  • Mainstream training programmes with SENESCYT.
  • Financial Support to NGO EcoSur for reconstruction sites (26 houses)
  • +, which will also act as hands-on training sites.

Results from previous phases:   Following the earthquake the SHA provided emergency and early recovery support in WASH and Shelter to Pedernales and nearby regions.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Schweizerisches Arbeiterhilfswerk

Other partners
Relevant governmental, national and international partners.
Coordination with other projects and actors Swiss Embassy, UNDP, SENESCYT, SECAP, and Municipality of Pedernales
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    676’300 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    657’475