[Episcopal Relief & Development] Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting earthquake response efforts in Ecuador through local Episcopal dioceses in both the coastal and inland regions. The Diocese of Litoral Ecuador, based in Guayaquil, was hardest hit by the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck off the coast on April 16. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) puts the current death toll at 660, with 23 still missing. Over 4,600 people were injured in the disaster, and nearly 23,000 are still in shelters three weeks following the quake, as an estimated 7,000 buildings were destroyed and numerous aftershocks hampered initial response activities.
Four key congregations in the municipality of Manta, a city along Ecuador’s central coast, are appointing parishioners to liaise with local government on planning the response in those communities. In addition, the diocese is training specialists to assist parish leadership in all impacted areas to conduct needs assessments and determine how best to respond. With support from Episcopal Relief & Development, the diocese is providing food, clothing, first aid supplies, clean water, household items and emergency repair assistance to 300 families. These congregations are also mobilizing volunteers and working with government and local organizations to coordinate efforts.
“There are many victims who require our attention, and we will seek to get help to them in some way, although there are access roads affected; but with the help of the National Police or other government agencies we will find a way to reach the most needy,” wrote the Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante, Bishop of the Diocese of Litoral Ecuador, in a letter on April 18. “I ask consolation and solidarity for all those who have lost loved ones, for God to encourage them and restore them in His infinite mercy and goodness.”
Episcopal Relief & Development is also responding through the Diocese of Central Ecuador, which is assisting an additional 300 families with food, water and first aid, and plans to support the reconstruction of seven damaged homes.
“This was a very big disaster for the area, with approximately 720,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance across the six provinces where the government has declared a state of emergency,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Program Officer for Disaster Response and Risk Reduction. “I am grateful to our partners in Ecuador who have activated their local networks to help with larger assessment and relief efforts, since churches have deep knowledge of who in their communities may be most vulnerable and in need of extra help.”
Please continue to pray for all those impacted by the earthquake in Ecuador, and for the churches that are ministering to those in their communities who are most in need.
To support Episcopal Relief & Development’s response, please donate to the International Disaster Response Fund.