QUITO – Ecuador needs a national earthquake plan that includes elements such as stricter building codes and reinforcement of existing structures, the head of the country’s Geophysical Institute told EFE.
Following the magnitude-7.8 temblor that struck Ecuador’s northern Pacific coast last month, it must be society “that demands these changes,” Mario Ruiz said in an interview.
The institute has already submitted proposals to the government, he said.
The country needs to “learn the lessons” of last month’s quake, Ruiz said, explaining that the institute’s study of the soil and other geological characteristics of the affected area can guide the reconstruction effort.
“We’re almost working against the clock. The day after the earthquake we said: let’s go to the area of the epicenter, where the most damage is. Because we have to go and see the damage before people, in their natural desire to rescue survivors or rescue their belongings, start moving” the rubble, Ruiz said.
The coastal earthquake left 663 people dead and forced some 29,000 residents from their homes.