Puerto Lopez day after 7.8 Ecuador Earthquake

Quake: Puerto Lopez two years after a 7.8 rocked Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

April 16, 2016 at 6:58pm, a 7.8 earthquake shook Ecuador’s coast. If you have not read my reliving of that night in Puerto Lopez, find it here.

Some have asked what the buildings in the photos look like now. What follows are the photos from April 17, 2016 and the same location two years later.

The first building was torn down and has not been rebuilt.


Day after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake, Puerto Lopez, Manabí
Two years after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake, Puerto Lopez

The second building was rebuilt with some finishing work still to be completed.


Day after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake, Puerto Lopez
Two years after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake, Puerto Lopez

The fire house had to be completely demolished. Puerto Lopez has turned the land into a parking lot and the fire department has moved to a new location.

Puerto Lopez fire department day after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake
Puerto Lopez two years after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake

The night of the earthquake, I heard that Puerto Lopez lost 11 buildings. Inspection crews made their way through the worst hit towns north of us, then came to Puerto Lopez. It was a months-long process inspecting all of the homes and businesses for damage. Some had to be torn down after inspections.

In the long run, Puerto Lopez lost more than 11 buildings but I do not know the final number. None of the initial damage in Puerto Lopez is visible two years later unless you know where to look.

2018 A to Z Challenge - Q
Puerto Lopez two years after 7.8 Ecuador earthquake

Related posts

Post-Earthquake makeshift camps
Never Ending Aftershocks
Water. Clean Drinking Water
Clean Drinking Water (contains updated information)


A look back

Last year, I wrote Quick stories: Rare Frog, Heated Toilet, Happy Snake.

I am a US Expat in Ecuador. I grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked in IT in California's Silicon Valley, then moved to a coastal Ecuador fishing village. My goal is to share Ecuador with you, one snippet at a time. Topics include attractions, compassion, ecotourism, Ecuador products, everyday Ecuador, and flora and fauna. Please let me know what you would like to read more about!


  • DC

    Thanks for sharing. I went and read your early post too. Earthquakes are scary. I was speaking to 125 people at a technical conference in San Jose, California in 1989 when the World Series earthquake hit. The epicenter was about 12 miles away from me. It was a frightening ride!

  • viridian

    Emily, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I am a geologist and yes, a 7.8 is huge! I also was in the Bay area SF for the 1989 earthquake – very scary.

    • Emily Bloomquist

      I moved to the SF Bay Area in the early 1990s so I was not there for the earthquake but learned so much about it just being there for almost 20 years. Over time, I knew where each of my new friends was that night and how it affected them. They certainly are scary events! Thanks for commenting, viridian!

  • Heather Erickson

    Thank you for sharing these pictures. It brings to mind post surgical scars. Amputations made in order to move forward after a grave injury. I can't imagine what that is like for a community. It's interesting to note how long recovery can take.
    Facing Cancer with Grace

    • Emily Bloomquist

      What a good analogy, Heather. Sometimes a lost limb is replaced with a prosthetic (new building) but it is never the original. Other times, the amputated part is just gone. Thank you.

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Emily – I too remember your earlier post – and it must be devastating to see the after effects and effect on the people in the town … I'm glad they're rebuilding and sorting the town out – I guess it's what happens in earthquake zones … and as others have mentioned the leaders come to the fore, and helpers are there to help – so encouraging – cheers Hilary

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Exactly, Hilary, that is what happens in earthquake zones. Everyone pulls together and, as you say, helpers are there to help. My view on humanity improved after going through this process. Now you know that even if you have one in your temporary adopted country things will improve over time. Thanks so much for your always thoughtful comments, Hilary.

  • Arti Jain

    These pictures show how resilient humans are and the spirit of 'we shall overcome' that makes it possible to carry on.
    Emily, are the buildings designed to withstand earthquakes or at least limit the damage?
    Areas is the regions of Kumaon (foothills of the Himalayas) and the Rann of Kutcch (western India) which sit on fault lines and are therefore prone to earthquakes have traditional designs which suffer less damage than modern buildings.
    Q is for Quotes on my fridge door in Qatar

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Thanks for the excellent question, Arti! Building codes here do include provisions to help buildings withstand earthquakes. Prior to this earthquake, many of those codes were followed loosely. My understanding is that the government inspectors are being less loose now.

  • Deborah Weber

    Disasters like this are simply heart-breaking, and yet to see the resiliency of people, the generosity and kindness that comes in the aftermath pulling people together, and then eventually the rebuilding – these are such beautiful things to celebrate. Remarkable photos Emily.

  • Keith's Ramblings

    One has to admire the resiliece and determination of people in this situation. This is something I've not experienced so I dont know how I would react. I was however in Nepal immediately before the devestating quake there, so I came pretty close!

    • Emily Bloomquist

      I imagine you followed the Nepal news very closely since you were just there. It had to be surreal to watch things you had just enjoyed destroyed. I would not add "living through a devastating natural disaster" to your bucket list, Keith, but you really do see how resilient people are in times like these. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  • Wolf of Words

    I have only been in one earthquake here on the east coast of the US and it was pathetic in comparison. We lost 0 buildings. I cannot imagine living through such devastation. Here in Charm City, we do not really have any horrible natural disasters so I have much respect for Puerto Lopez here. kingmengi.wordpress.com

    • Emily Bloomquist

      The one you experienced did give you an sense of the helplessness you have while the earth is moving and you having no control. A city with no natural disasters has to help with planning! We always have contingency plans and a "go bag" ready in case of an earthquake. After 20 years in California, we thought we knew earthquakes until the 7.8 hit. Thanks so much for stopping by, WoW!

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Your wife's family in Guayaquil must have felt it very strongly, too. I am hoping that this was our big one and yours comes far, far in the future, Arlee! Thanks for stopping by and for founding the A to Z Challenge!

  • Kristin

    When I first glanced over the intro to this post, I thought there had been another earthquake. I was going to email my friend who lives in Puyo to see if he was affected, but I see it is about rebuilding after the 2016 quake! He did have an earthquake there in Puyo during the past year, but nothing devestating.

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Sorry for the fright, Kristin! I am happy to report that Ecuador has had no devastating earthquakes since 2016. Puyo is supposed to be absolutely beautiful! I want to get there one of these days. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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