More than 230 people are known dead in Ecuador as the result of a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck off the country’s central coast on Saturday evening, April 16.
“This is the worst earthquake to strike Ecuador since 1987, when 1,000 people were killed. It was a truly terrifying event felt across the country,” says José Luis Ochoa, World Vision’s national director in Ecuador.
“The people of Ecuador spent a night worried about further shocks and today finding out about the extent of the damage,” he says.
Among the most affected provinces are Esmeraldas, Santo Domingo, Manabi (near the epicenter), Guayas, Los Rios, and Santa Elena, though a national state of emergency has been declared.
“Our staff are setting up a shelter alongside with government ministries in Manabi to aid all affected families,” says José. “In situations like this, we are especially concerned about children and ensuring their needs are met.”
World Vision is launching a response in Esmeraldas and Manabi provinces to provide emergency kits for affected families, temporary shelter, and Child-Friendly Spaces. We will partner with local emergency committees to bring relief to the most vulnerable.
Plase join us in prayer for the people of Ecuador.
Help provide life-saving aid to children and families when disasters strike around the world,
such as this deadly earthquake in Ecuador.
Aid worker’s loss prompts call to prayer
After the powerful earthquake hit Ecuador last weekend, World Vision social media officer Diego Rivadeneira spent many hours communicating to the rest of the world about the staggering loss and damage in his home country. Then he received news that made the tragedy more personal. This is his story:
On Saturday, April 16, our quiet family dinner was interrupted by a strong earthquake. At 6:58 p.m., our peaceful Quito started to shake. This isn’t my first experience with earthquakes; I survived Chile’s magnitude-8.8 earthquake in 2010. This reminded me of the aftershocks I lived through at that time.
I expected the worst, and unfortunately my fears became reality. The earthquake on Saturday was the worst natural disaster our country has experienced in 20 years.
Shortly after the earthquake, news began to spread. Stories of sadness and destruction among the coastal communities filled the headlines on social media and TV. I wasn’t able to sleep that night; I had a feeling in my heart that something was wrong.
Early the next morning, on Sunday, we learned that my cousin, Evelyn, who lived in Pedernales, one of the most affected areas, died when her house collapsed. Her husband was able to rescue their children — a 4-year-old girl and the baby Evelyn gave birth to just two months ago. We were devastated.
I can’t help but remember her joy just weeks earlier as they welcomed the new member into the family.
Their house is destroyed; they lost everything. I know that everything but lives can be replaced. I pray to God for strength and ask his help to be able to accept her loss. It really hurts.
My family in Quito was not able to travel today to Pedernales to support our family or attend the funeral. Flights have been reserved for humanitarian aid only.
Like me, hundreds of people have lost family members, and some are still trapped in the rubble. At this moment, we all are connected by pain and sorrow.
My country is living through a difficult time right now. More than 500 people are confirmed dead, and more than 4,000 people are injured. The losses have plunged the whole country into mourning.
Now, I just ask for prayers. Please pray for my cousin’s children and her husband. Pray for each child who lost his or her parents, for these families who lost their belongings, and for my country, which never expected to live through such a tragedy.