It’s tough to imagine — in an instant, your life is turned upside down. Loved ones are lost and your family home is leveled. This nightmare scenario is exactly what the people of Ecuador are currently experiencing. As rescue workers continue to search for an unknown number of victims, the people of Ecuador are wondering how they’ll pick up the pieces.
Sadly, the death toll has risen to more than 650, with thousands more injured — not to mention all the individuals who are now homeless. From one human being to another, we’re all thinking, is there anything I can do?
The largest earthquake to hit the country in decades
On April 16th, 2016, Ecuador was hit with a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake, leaving thousands without a home and hundreds more dead. Of course, buildings and homes can be rebuilt, but the lives lost cannot be replaced. It’s a tragic situation that has left people around the globe asking, what can I do to help?
As you can imagine, rescue workers and volunteers are working around the clock, as they continually look for survivors. Although we would all love to jump on a plane and do what we can to help on-site, there are plenty of things we can do from afar that will have an equally positive impact.
Clean drinking water
UNICEF is the leading humanitarian and development agency focusing on the most urgent priorities at this time. Of those, clean drinking water is critical. Pedernales, a coastal city majorly affected by the earthquake has already received 20,000 water purification tablets. Along with clean water, preventing disease is at the top of the list of priorities.
Among some of UNICEF’s emergency supplies are mosquito nets and, of course, resources for children. The organization has asked for a total of $1 million to meet these needs. You can donate to UNICEF to ensure proper sanitation for the victims of the earthquake, as well as the prevention of disease — donate here.
Water Ecuador is another organization committed to helping those in need. At this time, 100 percent of all donations will go directly to the earthquake relief efforts. Since so many homes have been lost, Water Ecuador is also focusing on the provision of clean drinking water — you can donate here. Water Ecuador offers volunteer and education opportunities, with the motto, “think globally, act globally.”
Physical and psychological support
As you can imagine, an event like this leaves people both physically injured and emotionally devastated. The Ecuadorian Red Cross has already deployed over 800 volunteers in order to provide support and assistance.
The Red Cross provides first aid and psychosocial support. Mobilized health teams and hospital units have also been deployed, as local health services have been directly impacted by the earthquake. They continue to assess the full impact, determining whether or not maternal and obstetric care will also be needed.
Not only can you donate directly to the Red Cross, but banks and a number of organizations and businesses are accepting donations on behalf of the Red Cross, including Apple via iTunes. They are currently accepting donations in $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200 increments — every dollar counts at this time.
Working in Ecuador since 1962, the humanitarian organization CARE has sent significant support in order to provide emergency services on the ground. According to their assessment of the current situation, the greatest needs are shelter, food and water, as well as machinery and gloves for rescue workers. In order to fund these relief efforts, CARE is currently accepting donations.
The Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is also collecting donations in order to provide emergency relief. The organization is currently providing relief for children and families, especially in the provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas. Temporary shelters are being offered, as well as “child-friendly spaces” — you can donate here.
In order to feed those affected, the World Food Program (WFP) has stepped up, providing food to more than 5,000 families. After a government request, WFP emergency food kits were sent to the city of Portoviejo, the capital of the Province of Manabí. The WFP plans to scale up its efforts, assisting a quarter of a million people.
Let’s pull together, helping the people of Ecuador rise from the rubble. There are hundreds of organizations currently offering various levels of support. Whether you’d like to volunteer or donate to small, local organizations, here is a thorough list of contacts and related donation information.
Krista Hillis is passionate about nutrition, mental health, and sustainable practices. She has her Bachelors in Psychology and Neuroscience and is still active in her research. Studying both the body and mind, she focuses on natural health and balance. Krista enjoys writing based on her ability to inspire others and increase overall awareness.