Most of you will have read that there was a 7.8 earthquake on the northern coast of Ecuador last night. To put that in perspective, this quake was six times stronger than the 7.3 quake that hit Japan this past Saturday. The Richter scale is a strange beast and an increase of 1 on the scale means that a quake is 10 times stronger than the number preceding.
For Americans living in Ecuador wanting to know the latest safety updates, please make sure you are registered with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. And if you are in Ecuador and need assistance, the Embassy has posted that any American citizens requiring Mission assistance should contact the US Consulate General GYE at 04-371-7000 or US Embassy Quito at 02-398-5200.
For those of you trying to contact friends and family in Ecuador, please be patient. Some areas have internet connection and cell phone service while others do not have even basic electricity. But your call might be made a little easier using Skype, which is allowing free calls to landlines and mobiles into Ecuador.
Facebook has been an excellent source for information on the safety of people, so if you have an account, check the status of your friend. There is a good chance they may have already check in via the Facebook Safety messaging system.
UPDATE – 3:20pm April 17 – Also, someone has started an effort to help families find out information about anyone on the coast. You can either choose “I am searching for someone (Estoy buscando a alguien)” or “I have information about someone (Tengo información sobre alguien)” on this google page.
Sources of Information
The Guardian has one of the best up to date pages in English that we have seen.
How To Help
The question many of you will have on your mind is “How can I Help?” or “What can I do?” It is a natural response after a disaster.
For those of you living locally, you can be most helpful by staying home. We know that sounds crazy, but the government needs access to roads so that they can best get help where it is needed quickly and without concerns of traffic. The more of us that stay put, the easier it will be. Even in places that seem far away. This will give police, military, and firemen complete freedom to move as quickly as possible to the places where help is most needed.
There are some churches taking donations in many communities throughout Ecuador. They are asking for clothing, blankets, and non-perishable food. If you can access one of these locations in your neighborhood, that is a good option for helping. However, cash is often the best donation as organizations can buy what they need, often in bulk and at discount, and transport as needed. Organizations that have direct relationships with the community are always a good choice to help out.
The city of Quito is taking donations of items at these locations for the rest of the day.
UPDATE – 1:00pm April 17 – In Cuenca, see this facebook post for places to donate non-perishable food items and clothing in good repair.
UPDATE – 1:05pm April 17 – And the Mayor of Cuenca is taking donations at the office of the Desarrollo Social Cuenca until 8:30pm at Presidente Borrero between Sucre and Presidente Cordova. Non-perishable food only. See this facebook post.
UPDATE – 12:10pm April 17 – The local Ecuadorian Red Cross is taking monetary donations to their bank account:
- Banco Pichincha
- Cuenta corriente: 3462520104
- Name on the account: Fondo de emergencia
- Beneficiary: Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana – Quito
- RUC: 1791241746001
UPDATE – 1:25pm April 17 Local business, GreenWood Builders, located in Tumbaco (near Quito), will be headed to the coast tomorrow to help build temporary structures and with clean up. They can take some donations with them and are open to monetary donations to help out. Please contact Steven Lozano at Greenwoodecuador@gmail.com.
UPDATE – 2:55pm April 17 The University of San Francisco will take donations on MONDAY in the HALL USFO. They will accept tents, water, basic first aid medications, insect repellent, and non-perishable food. See their facebook post for more info.
UPDATE – 5:00pm April 17 Esperanza Canina, an animal rescue center in Manta has been destroyed. If you can help with local donations, they could use food, medicine, and cleaning supplies for the rescue center. They are collecting supplies at Avenida 24 between Calles 12 and 13 in the offices of Salud Global. If you can help with a cash donation, they have a paypal account. Send money to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can add money to their local Ecuadorian bank account:
- Banco Internacional
- Cuenta de Ahorros #7100783879
- Name: Funcacion Esperanza Canina
- RUC: 1391814933001
UPDATE – 4:30pm April 17 – If you live in Cuenca and would like to help collect, sort, and package donations, please contact Adriano Uintimilla at 099 719 4073 (He speaks English).
UPDATE – 11:30am April 17 – If you live locally and are a medical specialist (trauma, surgery, emergency medicine) or a nurse or a psychologist, the Ministry of Health is looking for your help – especially if you speak Spanish.
— Salud Ecuador (@Salud_Ec) April 17, 2016
UPDATE – 12:20pm April 17 – this link for volunteering is being shared on the Ecuador Expats page.
It is unclear who is collecting the information but as we learn more, we will let you know. The Juventud Comunista del Ecuador is leading this effort – check out their request on Facebook.
UPDATE – 12:25pm April 17 – The city of Quito is recruiting volunteers. You can call 228-3915, ext 141, 112, 154, or 150. #Hashtag to follow on Twitter is #QuitoSolidario.
For those of you living further away and watching this via social media, it may seem like there is very little to do. But there are international organizations that will be allowed to enter the country and assist. Politics on the ground are complicated and we know that only some countries have been requested to help Ecuadorians. Currently Venezuela, Mexico, and the European Union are sending help at the bequest of the Ecuadorian Government.
In the meantime, you could consider donating to these organizations (please do your own research if in doubt on any of these):
- Oxfam (British NGO) is requesting emergency donations
- Shelter Box – although they do not yet have an Ecuador specific page available, Shelter Box is often one of the first organizations on the ground helping. A donation to this organization will help families in need.
- UDPATE – 11:20am April 17 – UNICEF is on the ground and requests donations through the Children’s Emergency Fund.
- UDPATE – 12:45pm April 17 – Heifer International is mobilizing teams to assess projects in Coastal Ecuador. They are asking for donations to their disaster rehabilitation campaign.
- UDPATE – 1:10pm April 17 – Extreme Response is organizing with their partner in the earthquake zone, Casa de Dios. You can visit www.extremeresponse.org and designate your donation “Ecuador Earthquake”.
- UDPATE – 2:30pm April 17 – A Go-Fund-Me account has been started by three Ecuadorian students studying in the United States. Any funds they collect will go directly the Ecuadorian Red Cross.
- UDPATE – 2:45pm April 17 The Global Shapers Quito Hub is taking monetary donations and turning them into blankets, drinking water, canned food, first aid medicine, mattresses, and clean clothes. They have raised over $16,000 so far. If you would like to help them, visit their Indiegogo site.
- UDPATE –
2:50pm6:30pm April 17 Ceiba, an organization that protects one of the local dry forests, an endangered habitat in coastal Ecuador, have started an Earthquake Recovery Fund.They pledge that all donations will go directly to earthquake recovery on the coast of Ecuador. New link for donations (more than $9,000 raised so far)
- UDPATE –
5:10pm6:30pm April 17 Ceiba will also be taking donations of food and supplies in Quito at Avenida Occidental N46-97 y Francisco Montalvo, care of Monica Hernandez Saa.in Cumbaya on Calle Antonio Salguero casa 17 y Pampita, in care of Catherine Woodward
- UDPATE – 3:00pm April 17 Hearts of Gold, a non-profit working out of Cuenca, has started an Earthquake Relief Fund.
- UDPATE – 4:15pm April 17 Several people have shared Samaritan’s Purse as an option. They have a basic International Emergency Relief Fund.
We will update these lists as we hear more information. Feel free to let us know in the comments below if a link is not working or if you have one you would like to add.
Please be safe.