Ecuador Earthquake Update – Desperate Cry for Help – Many Areas Still in Dire Need

coast

Contrast of natural beauty and horror.

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.

aerial

Aerial view show extent of destruction.

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.

Despair

The faces say it all, heartbreak, horror and despair.

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).

Devastation

The absolute devastation is shocking to behold.

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.

ManRubble

Apartment blocks reduced to rubble.

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!

33 comments

    • martin

      I bet they’d like food, shelter and fresh water more than your prayers.

      • Sentinel hero

        Our prayers go with our money, in that we pray it will only be used to help those in need, and not as is so often the case, swallowed up in company costs.

        • Earth4AllAdmin

          Yes this was exactly why we set up fundraisers for smaller and independent groups providing relief, when you realise that maybe just a few cents in the dollar make it through larger organisations it can be quite disheartening. Of course teh general public understandably has more trust of big aid organisations, so we are suggesting for those people to go to them and donate, for people that know us and trust us we are suggesting they donate to our campaign which will go more directly, without subtractions, to aid work.

  • Janet Ineson

    This article does nothing to foster hope or recognize the strength of the people of Bahia or their efforts to bring calm to chaos. We were there in Bahía. Within minutes of the quake, emergency personal, volunteers, ordinary people were making shelters, receiving and imparting news, supporting, rescuing from rubble. Within 24 hours, rubble was being cleared from streets, searches continuing, food and water being offered, ordinary people had arranged for water and basic supplies to be flown in to San Vicente, where trucks picked them up. Within a day and a half, some eateries were reopening and we saw some local buses running and cleanup was ongoing.

    Yesterday, as we were leaving, (prearranged, thankful we weren’t going to be extra mouths to feed) , army convoys and supplies were coming in to the area. Already along the route, roads that had been closed had been assessed and reopened, bridges assessed, patched and reopened, water deliveries happening.

    To us, Bahía did not appear to be 80% destroyed. Locals and expats were rallying together. I am sure that the government and organizations are doing their best to be where they need to be as soon as they can. This takes time.
    These people were demonstrating amazing resilience and support for each other, I’m sure knowing that help would come sometime, and relying on each other, their families, friends and strangers in the meantime. Though obviously shell-shocked, their strength and hope was palpable and impressive.

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      Hi Janet,

      We are reporting the information being shared with us by people in Bahia and other towns along the coast. Now of course this represents the desperation that some people are feeling, that does not mean everybody is in a desperate situation. We were asked to relay how desperate those people felt and the lack of help that was reaching the towns.

      It is of course true that the people were already bounding together and helping each-other, including local police and fire services. The complaint side of this is that external services have not reached many of the locations affected and they feel disconnected and forgotten, as well as in high stress due to lack of help with rescuing people or helping the wounded. I am not at all dismissing the resilience or sense of community, we were asked to share a message of desperation and that is exactly what we have done. I am sure other articles speak more about the resilience and the positive actions – all sides of the story have to be represented and these more negative experiences are also valid, as I am sure you can appreciate. Of course one persons view of how destroyed a town is may differ from another, this was how it was explained to us and we make no claim to have witnessed this ourselves, which is made clear from the start.

      I very much appreciate you comment and it does add helpful balance.

      • Janet Ineson

        Thank you for your response….

        I believe that aid is coming as fast as it can, in spite of numerous obstacles. It cannot be instant aid, even if the tragedy were to be in North America. In remote areas, it will always be more difficult and take more time to get there. But these people live resourcefully all the time! They understand their situation more than we could ever know.

        I am bothered by the sensationalist headlines that you are posting which do nothing to foster goodwill and positivity which everyone so desperately needs. And I can bet that no emergency forces are sitting around looking at social media that is telling them to hurry up!

        We are now in Cuenca, and the relief efforts here are amazing.

        Even in times like this, we must be supportive of whatever efforts are being made. We do no good by fostering negativity…..Please, be supportive instead!

        • Earth4AllAdmin

          Dear Janet,

          We were asked by locals to get media attention, sadly that does take a noticeable headline, which has to reflect the desperation rather than the resilience, this was so that the media would add pressure to the government response times. I am certainly not trying to directly pressure or criticise emergency services or expecting them to read this article at all, after all it is not even a Spanish language article so it is not aimed directly at Ecuadorian people (though many do read English of course). Sadly the government strategy did not use obvious options like aid drops for the many towns, that should have happened on day 1 or day 2. Also aid by sea was an obvious option that failed to happen etc.

          We have spent the last few days helping coordinate the search for missing people on behalf of worried friends and family, passing pictures to the police and other people out looking, it is all very draining but we are glad to help in any small way. There is a great sense or resilience in some place perhaps but i am honest in telling you we are hearing mostly tales of desperation. Hopefully now that some services are getting in things will improve.

    • Audrey Martin

      Earrtquakes measuring above 4.0 and up to 7.8, and loss of lives – a call for help is in order. Help brings hope

      • Earth4AllAdmin

        Yes, indeed, people can’t just survive on positivity and camaraderie. It also does not lift tons of rubble of trapped kids.

    • Dixie McCormick

      Thank you Janet, I needed to hear something positive. I am just so hurt for all those hurting. Man and beast alike.

  • NBH

    THIS ARTICLE IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT. I live in Ecuador.People are NOT dying in the streets. This nonsense is soooooooooo disrespectful of the hundreds of aid workers already in place assisting people, to say nothing of the efforts of ordinary Ecuadorians who have so little ready to share what little they have. I am beyond furious about this. This man is just trying to get your money.

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      Dear NBH,

      You live in Ecuador, it is a big place, do you live in a town hit by the earthquake? We are sharing information given to us by a large number of people that are living in towns directly hit by the earthquake, in fact by the many earthquakes. They are indeed having to wait without signs of help, small towns and villages especially but even in Manta and Bahia de Caraquez people were stating that outside help was not arriving, it does seem that today at least some military forces had arrived in these cities. What about the other towns and villages? The process has been too slow and now the realistic situation is that almost every trapped person will have been left too long. This is not a success story. We do understand of course that local people have done everything they can to help each-other, including local medical, fire and police services. These people and all the local people that came together t help are to be saluted. However the same local people have expressed anger at how long it has taken for any help to arrive, not even drops of supplies that could have been easily arranged in military aircraft, or aid by sea as almost all towns have ports or landing sites for boats. Yes roads were down but there were and are other options.

      I am sorry you feel that all of the people passing information to us and asking us to tell the world about it are all liars, we do not think they are lying we think they are in desperate need of help. Maybe you should channel your furious energy into doing something to help these people. If you want to accuse me of wanting peoples money that is something I can’t control, but every penny we raise will go to helping buy essential goods for people in need in coastal towns via our contacts, which includes friends in the local police force there that have been co-coordinating searches and assessing damage.

      Regards

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      Perhaps you should read this mainstream news article which also reports on how it took too long for help to arrive and that people were left to die in the streets (under the rubble) and how terribly angry many local people are. Or do you think Yahoo are also making this up? https://uk.news.yahoo.com/ecuador-quake-repairs-cost-billions-dollars-president-180413852.html

    • Karen Herschell

      NBH, Please note that the author also suggested donating to other aid groups such as the Red Cross. If you think this is a scam or are worried about the money not being used as you would like, you can donate to such an organization. I hope you will do so.

    • starr

      why don’yt you just get off your ass and start helping instead of attacking others, your stupidity is embarrasing. Everyone is doing their part as they are guided.

      • Earth4AllAdmin

        I think there is always somebody who is more worried about national pride than peoples lives, this is not about saying Ecuador is somehow bad or the people helpless, the simple fact is (and many news sites are now reporting it) that many towns were left without any support for days, even though aid could have been sent by plane or boat etc. As for suggesting I really want to sell my soul to the devil by stealing aid for devastated families, it is a pretty sick suggestion but if that is what gets this guy off so be it, all teh donations are going to members of the Bahia police to buy aid, in fact they have been using their own wages to buy aid already!

        • gary simpson

          Thanks for getting the truth out. It’s a terrible disaster and aid will soon dry up without publicity.

  • George

    Please get FUNDMENOW account for donations, works great for getting aid for those in need. The generosity acct is not as common… Via con Dios

  • DZS

    Dear NBH, I am sorry to read that you live in Ecuador and don’t know a thing of what is really going on. I live in Guayaquil, and a friend of my daughter is a firefighter, he sent her a voice message that would break even the strongest heart. He said that they have some supplies that have not been delivered because that’s no one alive in some towns to share with. That everybody is already dead, they can’t even approach to those areas because of the odor. That they are doing as much as they can, but it’s impossible to help since they don’t have aircrafts to take basic aids such as water to some places, do to lack of roads.
    The people of Ecuador have gathered many things to take to the ones in need, but I agree that it’s not enough.
    On the other hand I don’t know the person who wrote this article and if its true that the donations are going to be channeled directly. I would advise everybody to find out first. Sadly some are taking advantage. Sorry
    Thank you all for your interest in the people of Ecuador, God Bless you

  • john

    nbh, read the actual eye witness reports, this is not a conspirious against the government. This is fact. If you do not agree, please go out and smell the bodies of the dead

  • Earth4AllAdmin

    Another article reporting the lack of help in hard hit towns. Yes it can take time by road to help these towns with roads closed, but there was the ability for air drops and this failed to happen, as did the use of crafts coming by sea. Big cities got help and towns were left with people trapped for days – people that by now are likely all dead. I know some people want me to sound positive but if my family were left trapped under rubble for days I would be very angry, if my community was left without any supplies I would be very angry etc
    http://latinamericacurrentevents.com/san-isidro-manabi-ecuador-no-light-no-water-and-little-help-after-earthquake/35959/

  • WordsRpower

    You lost me with your rot in hell comment at the end. I understand you’re angry but please be aware that words are powerful and this aggressive tone potentially slanders the whole article and discredits the author. It would be more effective to state the truck high jacking incident as a fact to which people can form their own opinion. I was going to share your post but don’t support transference of this kind of energy.

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      You have a point, i was very upset to read about the hijacking just as I was writing this article, I will edit it.

  • Kelley King

    My sister is in San Alejo. We got Heifer International into San Alejo due to a personal friend of my mine who has a connection there, thank goodness. Other than that – no contact from rescue organizations. The section on small villages could have been straight from my sister’s story, Kimberly James…right down to helicopters, wild eggs and water from swimming pool. They boiled the water on their barbecue grill! They are feeding everyone they can, having set up a distribution center at their small motel. It was a week ago today and still waiting for help by land or air.

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      Thank you Kelley, and people think I am being over dramatic or making these stories up. The aid efforts have been much less successful than global media might sometimes portray, I suspect most smaller towns and villages are in your situation. Help has gone to te larger cities and big towns whilst other areas have been abandoned by the government speared initiatives. I have read about soldiers (with no equipment anyway) sitting around having a bit of a holiday on the coast doing nothing to help, also I saw that awful video of a certain ‘leader’ threatening the distressed people in one town for complaining…

      • Kelley King

        US government rescue teams have been stalled because Ecuador isn’t answering the phone. You are spot on in your report. Why doesn’t one of those planes/helicopters going by do an air drop of supplies? When I asked the US Consulate that, they didn’t even know whose planes those are to say if they could do that. When I see TV reports of trucks delivering survival kits to people in Manta and Portoviejo, I think “They are the lucky ones!” These towns, although also devastated, are at least getting help from the outside world. What about all the forgotten villages? The locals in those villages with no help are becoming increasingly desperate. Find my sister on Facebook. Kimberly James. She can tell the world what is going on. Her swimming pool is now empty. The eggs have become scarce. Now the real danger sets in. She has been buying and handing out supplies to the locals, but now she needs police protection 24/7. Desperation is setting in. No help has come.

  • Jaco Monte

    Let’s get one thing straight,
    All of you north americans living in Ecuador are immigrants
    NOT expats. just like everyone else.

    Be ware of north americans crying for donations on behalf of Ecuadorians.

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      Yes there is a special status for US and European immigrants when they move abroad, the term ‘expats’ which is used to somehow elevate them above the less glamorous term ‘immigrants’, personally I always have found this part of residual colonialism.

      As for myself I am happy with being an immigrant, also as my family are Ecuadorian (me being the exception as I am English-Trinidadian) my situation is a bit different to other immigrants, I live in an area where I am the only immigrant that I know of (Ambato). As for who runs fundraising I guess most people do not care what nationality they are as long as the money helps people that had their lives ruined.

  • Maryanna

    I cannot let Ms. King’s comments from yesterday go unaddressed. I know Kimberly James and know FOR A FACT that San Clemente where she is NOT “devastated,” she is about 30km from the actual ‘front lines’ of real destruction. People are able to freely go to and from both San Clemente since Thursday. Kim and Chris can leave if they want, they cannot because they know they’ll lose a bunch of their expensive electronics and high-priced knick-knacks they carted from the states.
    You can contact my friend Jack Abercrombie for the truth about who is devastated and who isn’t. http://www.facebook.com/journeymanjack He is in San Clemente RIGHT NOW. You can see pictures on his public profile.
    Its pretty suspicious that Kimberly James’ family and friends have been posting to websites and social media trying to get them MORE than the areas that need it MOST. Look at her gofundme… suddenly yesterday there are a two posts saying that they are legit and one that makes it sound like Kimberly James already stole $650 from her.

    I’m not arguing the veracity of your article, but that Kelly King person is full of shit and her alcoholic sister is a shameless self-promoter who is going to have some serious bad karma coming down on her for this charade.

    • Earth4AllAdmin

      It is a complex picture, some towns are destroyed some just inconvenienced. I suppose some people just see where they are and what is needed there, not the big picture.

      I can’t comment specifically on your claims, but I will ask about the damage in San Clemente, I have not seen the GoFundMe that you mention. If anyone uses a catastrophe for their own ends it will certainly come back on them, I hope nobody is doing that but I suppose it always happens in such events.

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