Heavily damaged buildings. Shattered windows. Men, women and children covered with debris. Cars trapped under heavy highways. Long lines of people waiting for food and water. The most destructive in nearly seven decades, the earthquake that shook Ecuador last Saturday is already considered the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the country. AVSI Foundation is working to ensure that the population has access to food, water and medicines.
Watch the video from Portoviejo (ESP)
The numbers are appalling: more than 650 dead, 8,340 people injured, 2,000 buildings damaged, 155 people missing, and more than 25,000 Ecuadorians now sleeping on mattresses in the open streets or under makeshift tents in vacant lots. The photographs circulating on social media resemble scenes from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
“As soon as we heard about the earthquake in Ecuador, we activated AVSI's network around the world started asking for donations for the victims”, says Giampaolo Silvestri, Secretary General of AVSI Foundation. “We are in constant contact with our staff in Ecuador in order to understand how to support the victims and how we can use our resources to help in the most effective manner. At this stage, our main goal is to ensure that the population affected has access to food, water and medicines, which are currently hard to find in the affected areas”.
Working in Ecuador since 2001, AVSI is present in Quito and Portoviejo, an area that has been seriously affected by Saturday's earthquake. Through its Distance Support Program, AVSI provides long-term support to over 700 vulnerable children.
“The children are all fine, but their houses were heavily damaged and the situation is very difficult”, states AVSI representative in Quito, Stefania Famlonga, who has been living in the capital for 13 years. “Portoviejo didn't have power or water for a few days. Many trucks are coming from Quito to distribute water and food, but many villages are still isolated. Portoviejo's residents think that the city will never be what it was. It's a tragedy. Help us to help them”.