Written by Carol Fouke-Mpoyo
On April 16, 2016, Ecuador suffered the deadliest earthquake to hit the small South American country in decades. 663 people died. A state of emergency was declared in all of Ecuador’s six coastal provinces. Hundreds of homes collapsed.
The quake, 7.8 on the Richter scale, hit just weeks after severe floods (in January 2016).
In the year following the quake, UCC Disaster Ministries has sent nearly $18,000 to help survivors get through the initial emergency and take steps to long-term recovery.
UCC Disaster Ministries' support helped 6,000 families in two provinces with Food Security, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), Community Based Psychological Support, and Non-Food Items.
It also is helping 30 families in Sua, Esmeraldas, Ecuador, re-establish livelihoods following the January floods and April earthquakes. For example, with microloans of $300:
* Estrella S. (pictured, below) was able to re-open her store, which the flood had destroyed. Now it's full of products.
* Lucy R. (pictured, right) established a catering business.
* Glenda and her husband fixed up their taxi-motorcycle and are able to give transportation services in Sua.
* Jean-Pierre S. invested in the production of chickens.
* Carmen S. and Venus M. invested in clothing to resell at a profit.
Small monthly interest payments cover the expenses of the community kitchen and support a cooperative.
That work is being coordinated by FEDICE ("Faith Says"), a Global Ministries bilateral partner in Ecuador.
"I fully expect that we will be engaged for the long term ... in Ecuador, where there has been significant damage throughout the country," said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth.
The United Church of Christ One Great Hour of Sharing and The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Week of Compassion have a joint special appeal for $500,000 for Ecuador earthquake relief and recovery.