As you know, a major 7.8 earthquake struck Ecuador two days ago, the strongest in Ecuador since 1979. Several hundreds have died and thousands are homeless. We have been posting information on our Facebook page for those wanting to get regular news and where to donate.
Many friends in Sierra have reported they are safe by checking online through Facebook. All Peace Corps volunteers have reported that they are safe.
All Peace Corps Ecuador Volunteers are safe & accounted for. Staff in Ecuador are in close contact w/ Volunteers regarding safety & security
— Peace Corps (@PeaceCorps) April 17, 2016
Epicenter was on the coast with major damage in cities like Pedernales, Porto Viejo, Muisne where there has long been a history of volunteers. Several hundred people have died, including friends of RPCVs and volunteers. Volunteers are mobilizing to get resources to the coast for rescue and relief operations, though it sounds like some areas are dicey in terms of security, as there is some desperation in towns for re-supply.
How You Can Help
Current Peace Corps volunteers have expressed an interest in helping and many of them who live along the coast are mobilizing funds to try to help. In general, it’s hard since unless you are trained in disaster response, it’s difficult to be useful, especially since outsiders converging on an area may themselves need food, water and shelter that are in short supply. It sounds like some coastal based volunteers, current and former, are working with local foundations and law enforcement to try to provide assistance. Others are channeling money to them. Money is probably better than donated goods.
Here are three sources that came up that are known to us personally or through the Peace Corps network. At bottom, we provide links to more well-known charitable organizations. We’ll try to update as we have more information.
She writes the following about the relief effort.
A powerful earthquake hit coastal Ecuador on April 16th. Pedernales, home to many dear friends and where I lived as a Peace Corps Volunteer, has been devastated by this catastrophe. I am raising funds to help with the relief work, and to help the town rebuild. The funds will be administered by the Fundacion Simon Palacios, a local organization I have worked with for many years.
Here is a link to returned Peace Corps Volunteers who are still in country and mobilizing relief to Manabi province. There is a good video and photos on this page explaining what they are doing and how you can help.
Here is another grassroots donation site through the Ceiba Foundation that I came across through Peace Corps volunteers who were commenting on the situation. Here is what the organizers say about their donation site:
These donations will specifically go to the northern part of Jama County where Ceiba Foundation, Finca Mono Verde and Third Millennium Alliance are currently working — these are poor communities with limited access to resources and will likely be last served by national relief efforts.
Donations may be made online and we pledge that 100% of donations will be go directly to earthquake recovery efforts on the coast.
Here are news stories that talk about more general ways one can help.
NBCChicago reports of the following options:
Global Shapers Quito has set up a crowdfunding page to help buy food, water, clothing, bedding and medicine for residents of Ecuador’s Manabi province.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will distribute emergency food kits and personal hygiene items to those who live close to the quake’s epicenter. Donate to ADRA’s Ecuador relief efforts here.
Samaritan’s Purse has sent a disaster assistance response team to provide food, shelter and medical help. The charity is collecting donations.