Article by Melissa Solorzano
On Saturday April 16, 2016 an earthquake hit the Manabí Province in Manta, Ecuador. On Wednesday April 20, 2016 another quake hit the Ecuadorian coast again. As an Ecuadorian-American with family living close to the earthquake’s epicenter, I felt the need to raise awareness of the destruction and poverty these quakes have brought to Ecuador.
One of the first things we learn, as journalists is that we shouldn’t report on our feelings towards these natural disasters or any news story in general. We must tell the facts and inform people. But, when I received a phone call late at night from my parents telling me about this tragedy and that it happened in the town where I lived in for many years, I was devastated.
According to Generosity by Indiegogo, a website that helps people raise money through personal fundraising, reported that “a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador and generated over 315 replicas between the cities of Pedernales and Cojimies (north of the coastal province of Manabí).” The US Geological Survey confirmed that the earthquake struck at a depth of 12 miles below the Earth’s surface.
The morning after the quake, CNN reported that the death toll reached 235. That night, they said the death toll was 272. That Monday, the toll went up to 350. More than a week later, BBC News confirmed that the death toll was 646. According to Ecuador’s Risk Management Office the death toll will keep on rising. Online news source, Reuters also confirmed that after 3 weeks since the earthquake, there are about 16,000 people injured, 58 missing, and those numbers will keep on rising as well.
As the days went by, my family learned that many friends and other family members were missing or had died. The streets that I lived on as a little girl and visited every summer until I was in high school, were completely destroyed. Telling you that this shattered my heart is an understatement. The worst part of the whole tragedy for me is not being able to take the next plane home to help out. The most I can try to do is to spread as much awareness as I possibly can to inform people about this quake and to help raise money for the people affected by it.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado tweeted that three aftershocks were registered on Thursday, April 21. The Ecuadorian government has also moved food supplies to the main towns and set up shelters for over 25,000 people that have been left behind without food or a place to live. Delgado said the cost of rebuilding the damaged parts of the country could amount up to $2.1 billion.
Fox News reported “the death toll from Ecuador’s quake has surpassed that of Peru’s 2007 earthquake, making it the deadliest quake in South America since one in Colombia in 1999 killed more than 1,000 people.” BBC News also reported that, “ Major international and aid organizations, including the World Food Programme, the United Nations refugee agency, Oxfam and Save the Children have sent help.”
Many other countries are also helping the Ecuadorian people. CNN reported “Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru and other countries sent rescuers and aid,” and that The European Union has released $1 million in humanitarian aid to help victims.
As of now, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio has also donated $3.4 million. Generosity by Indiegogo had a goal of raising $8,000 and in only a week they raised over $113,000. The World Bank has lent $105 million to help Ecuador as well. Penn State Students have also started a GoFundMe and are now accepting donations.
I spent a good part of my life living in and visiting Ecuador and I know that the people there are strong and courageous. With the help from others, they will come back from this and rebuild their homes and their lives. Right now, what we can do to help them get back on their feet is to help donate money to Ecuador and to send our prayers to the Ecuadorian people and to those who have passed away or are still missing due to this earthquake.
Feature Image Credit: Melissa Solorzano
To help Ecuador out you can donate to the following websites.