Earthquake in Ecuador Update


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. 


“These tragedies have brought a lot of pain,” said Martha. “We needed to do something to relieve at least a little of the pain for those who have lost everything.”

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.

“How can I give you a measure,” said Martha. “ 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.”

MEDLIFE is collecting donations to put towards relief here.

            *Photos from Pinterest page collecting earthquake photos*


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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University of Connecticut

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University of Toronto

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Maclay High School

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Nova Southeastern University

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College of Charleston

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University of Central Florida

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
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Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.