Five days after the catastrophic earthquake that rocked Ecuador on April sixteenth, the death toll has risen to 570, along with 7000 injured, 2000 buildings damaged and 24,000 survivors left homeless in refugee shelters, according to government tallies.
The government has estimated that the disaster caused between $2-3 billion dollars worth of damage, and could knock 2-3 points off of growth, already predicted to drop by the World Bank this year because of falling global oil prices, and lead to a shrinking economy. It will take years to recover.
The president has unveiled a plan to finance parts of the reconstruction through raising taxes, sellings bonds, and federal loans, but alot of help will still be needed.
MEDprograms director Ecuador Martha Chicaiza arrived in Esmeraldas today, the afternoon of the 21st with 50 emergency kits full of non-perishable foods, soap, matches, and basic medical supplies. The kits cost $25 each. She has also made 100 kits to send to Pedernales, one of the hardest hit coastal towns.
â€œThese tragedies have brought a lot of pain,â€ said Martha. â€œWe needed to do something to relieve at least a little of the pain for those who have lost everything.â€
Rescue personal are just beginning to reach many of the remote villages, the kinds of places MEDLIFE works, often finding few survivors and the towns reduced to rubble, like in this New York Times Article.
Martha will be visiting affected areas in coming days with leaders of communities where MEDLIFE has worked in the past and meeting with authorities to figure out the best way to help.
â€œHow can I give you a measure,â€ said Martha. â€œ In the days that have passed, observing more the dimensions of the tragedy- these cities are going to need help for a long time to clean and reconstruct. It destroyed houses, schools, and whole communities. We are going to have to work on this for a long time.â€
*Photos from Pinterest page collecting earthquake photos*