Ecuador Earthquake Update – Desperate Cry for Help – Many Areas Still in Dire Need
This is a desperate call to the media, both mainstream and social, your help getting news out about the current situation after the Ecuador 7.8 earthquake is urgently needed.
In 2015 our family spent time living in Bahia de Caraquez, midway along the Ecuadorian Pacific coast. We met many great people, experienced the welcoming coast culture, saw stunning beauty, witnessed concerning poverty and most of all fell in love with the idea of buying a home there to live in peace. Due to personal circumstances that arose we moved back to the mountains – perhaps saving our lives.
In the last couple of days at least 17 earthquakes of above 4.0 on the Richter Scale, have clobbered the Ecuadorian coast. The most powerful of course being the 7.8, unfortunately the damage caused in the primary event left buildings and bridges structurally unsafe, subsequent movement are bringing down these damaged areas. There is literally no respite for the people, the kind hearted people, Ecuadorian and ex-pat (immigrants) alike, living in this area of Ecuador. We have seen images of places we knew that are now unrecognisable. Towns are now rubble. Lives are now in chaos and despair, as survivors use their bare hands to dig for those trapped beneath the carnage.
Friends, we have just arrived from Bahia, with all the sadness in my soul I am letting you know that it is 80% destroyed, internally many of the structures will not hold in certain parts.
Of course we are all reading about the international aid efforts, the gathering of donations, the offers of material help from other Latin nations and even other further away. Which is all very noble and highly commendable. Make no mistake in what I am going to say, all of this is great news and it is heart-warming to read…however…
The direct information we are receiving paints a very grim and dire version of events. We have long been administrators of a Facebook group for people in the Bahia de Caraquez area, we turned this into an information portal after the big quake hit. Thankfully through this group, and similar groups we are members of, people are co-coordinating the search for missing people. Providing warnings. Updating situations. Those with family abroad are able to exchange information. Our friends in the local police have also been in communication with us, which is not easy as most electricity and communication services have been lost.
Canoa and Jama are also in grave shape, there are people under the ruins, there is no electricity, military help has not arrived and people are dying. There are missing people and many buildings are collapsed.
As we understand it the town of Perdenales no longer exists, a hellish landscape remains and the air is filled with the reek of decaying bodies. This was a vibrant, bustling tourist town with a lengthy beach when last we were there. Packed hotels are now just piles of debris, streets of homes vanished. I am not even sure how much more remains to do there beyond the task of digging up and then reburying the dead. It is that bad. Survivors will be in incredibly desperate situations in this area, although it does seem that at least there both aid and government personnel are on the scene (probably because that was where the president was heading).
Also there are whole mountains covering cars, buildings, houses and probably people. We need the social media to create pressure so that the necessary help arrives for people and animals, and to support people who are organizing help independently
Further out the jewel of the coast, the city of Bahia de Caraquez, has been described to us by local police as 80% destroyed, even the buildings still standing have suffered so much damage from the ongoing aftershocks that they will likely later need to be completely rebuilt assuming they do not fall in the coming days. Water, electricity and supply chains have all failed. The people are banding together as best they can but the situation is one of emergency. Little to no help has arrived, perhaps partly due to the intense damage to the road networks which tend to meander through mountain terrain in parts. This was also home to a thriving ex-pat community as well as popular destination for both Ecuadorian and foreign tourists, we are hearing that many non-nationals are among those dead, injured or left in the streets.
Smaller towns are faring even worse. The towns of San Clemente, Jama, San Vicente, Canoa and Rockerfuerte are reporting that there is no sign of aid agencies. People are literally down to foraging for food in the countryside, boiling wild eggs in water gathered from hotel swimming pools. Helicopters pass over head but none stop, no aid drops, no contact is made with them. Basic supplies have been shared out by those that have them, people with safe structures have taken in the most vulnerable. But the message is that time is running out before the next stage of this catastrophe takes hold, deaths from injuries, disease and dehydration.
San Andres of Canoa needs help. Only one machine is working for the destroyed town, hotels destroyed, families lost, people missing. Canoa , Pedernales, Manta, Jama, Chone, Portoviejo, Rocafuerte and Ecuador are in mourning
You and I can’t fix this. No matter what we would like to do. What these people are asking for is that we help get the message out to mainstream media that there is no time to wait. The mobilised organisations need to make haste to these areas, there is talk of thousands of soldiers and fire crews, but it seems they are not being dispersed across many of the worst hit areas. The world needs to understand how bad it is and that it is not actually getting any better right now. If you have a Blog, Website, Facebook Group, Twitter Feed or access to someone in Mainstream Media PLEASE HELP SHARE THIS CRY FOR HELP!
They are sharing their water and food, delivering bananas to the most vulnerable, but will run out soon.
Priority one is aid drops of water, food, medicines and other basic essentials to these towns.
Priority two is getting rescue workers and medical teams into these areas, by sea would make the most sense if the road are out, as nearly all these towns have beaches.
Prayers and donations are amazing but please also try and get pressure on the government to move faster, the only way to do this is for the desperate message to go viral and be seen by journalists and other big organisations with clout.
If together we can save even one life, that is a success story, but hopefully we can bring about more than that if we all pull together.
Please do consider donating to a local Ecuador charity such as Hearts of Gold for whom we have raised funds in our previous E4A fundraiser (thank you to all that donated), any friends of ours wishing to help please consider donating to our new fundraiser which will go to a different relief group here in Ecuador. Donating to any group that is helping is of course an amazing way to pitch in and there are several options out there (such as the Red Cross). Right now get the news out how desperate things are!