One month after a 7.8 earthquake struck the coast of Ecuador on April 16, Giving Children Hope has sent four shipments of relief goods to those in need. This week we plan to send our fifth container.
Executive Director Sean Lawrence boarded a flight on April 30, with a suitcase of medical supplies. In downtown Portoviejo, four-story buildings had collapsed, crushing everything underneath them. Reuters reports that 7,000 buildings collapsed, displacing 25,000 people now in temporary shelters. People lined up to be escorted to their office or apartment by police escort and given a half hour to grab any remaining possessions.
Sean was impressed by the organization of both the government and the nonprofit relief efforts. Giving Children Hope’s partner, Kids Around the World, is distributing our hygiene products, food and water to 600 people about 45 minutes outside of Portoviejo who have gone without any services since the earthquake. Just a week prior, these families had lost fathers and sisters to the earthquake, but they greeted Sean like an old friend and welcomed him into their homes. Many families described their fears of having to move if they are unable to restart their businesses or find new jobs. Every day that goes by is a day they aren’t making money to feed their families.
Sean met with the staff at Fundacion La Vida, a clinic that had two doctors working nonstop for 72 hours, seeing more than 500 patients after the earthquake. They were overjoyed to receive much-needed medical supplies from Giving Children Hope.
“Overall, there was an extremely strong sense of community and strength, which isn’t always the case after such a devastation,” Sean said.
Thanks to the entire Ecuadorian-American community, Club Ambato of Los Angeles, the Ecuadorian Consulate, Del Monte, Diego Jaramillo, and Marco Lopez, a flood of donations came in. Thank you to all who have donated and supported our Ecuador relief efforts.
(left) Distributing food to families that had yet received aid after the earthquake.