When I started this website almost 6 years ago it was a journal of my experiences. Yes, probably the purpose of it was endurance sport experiences, but on Saturday April 16th I had another type of experience. One of sadness, sorrow and powerlessness.
While I was sleeping getting ready for the Star Wars Half Marathon, a 7.8 earthquake hit my home country of Ecuador. The next day I had more than 100 messages on my phone, and I was shocked by the news.
I didn't have a lot of details of the magnitude of the natural disaster. On Monday, finally in Miami, I could watch the news and digest what was going on in Ecuador. The earthquake hit the coastal region of Ecuador having it's epicenter in the north side of the province of Manabi. To this day (Wednesday) it has been more than 600 deaths, thousands injured, and unfortunately more on the raise as they are still uncovering and trying to save people under the rubble.
My hometown, Guayaquil, have collapsed bridges, fallen buildings, and shaken structures. My city is the biggest one in Ecuador and it's economic heart. It can stand by itself, but cities closer to the epicenter of the earthquake had it worse. Most of the access ways (roads, highways) to these cities are down and is hard to get there and take all the help. There's no water or electricity and people have lost their homes and living in improvised shelters in the streets. These cities are poor, and in need of all the assistance possible.
Chaos have broken due to people getting desperate, with people actually stealing trucks that volunteers are taking to the province of Manabi, or getting to torn buildings to steal stuff. The government unfortunately is not ready to handle a catastrophe of this scale, having used all of the backup economic resources to handle an economic crisis that the country is living by poor handling of the current regime.
Fortunately inside all of this darkness surrounding my country, a light has arise. The actual civil population has come together like no one has ever seen before in the country. We actually can say that they are even doing a better job than the same government, and have taken matter with their own hands to help the most affected. Everyone has volunteered to help and send loads of trucks to the province. The private sector has united too inside the tragedy.
It's amazing the help from the international community too. From the bottom of my heart I thank Mexico, Chile, Spain that were the firsts to have deployed search and rescue teams. Many more sent their teams (like our neighbors Peru and Colombia). Locally in Miami, people have come together to help, by donating food, clothing, etc.
I cried when I saw this video of a kid's traumatic experience in the earthquake. A powerful story of how he watch people running trying to save themselves and at the end dying.
Thursday I collected as much as I could from friends that offer to help. On Friday I dropped the items at the relief center. I was amazed there were lines of cars waiting to drop the donations at the center and lots of hands helping making sure everything is organized. For the ones that helped with donations, THANK YOU!
How can I help?
If you want to help you can donate the following items:
- Priority: water
- Nonperishable foods (canned , beans , biscuits , energy bars, etc )
- Mattresses, tents
- Hygiene supplies
- First aid kits, mosquito repellents
- Batteries, lanterns
For my Miami readers you can drop your items at the following facility set by Ecuadorian Consulate in Miami.
PROVEX offices INC .
7061 NW 87th Ave
Miami , Florida 33178
Hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
If you are in Florida you can see other drop locations here
If you want to contribute with cash, the official government account set up for relief is as follows:
Checking Account: 36360112
Name of the Account: EARTHQUAKE ECUADOR
Zip Code: 10043
Bank Address: 111 Wall St., New York, NY 10043
If you are in another state or country, you can google the "Ecuadorian Consulate NAME OF YOUR CITY/COUNTRY" and you will find info in the government pages.
For other type of monetary help you can check:
For my fellow triathletes, Ironman has come along to help too. One of the most affected cities, Manta, is the host of the Ironman 70.3 Ecuador. Last year it was the inaugural event and it was a success. This year I'm scheduled to race it, but now we don't know if the event would even happen due to the circumstances. Here's the link if you want to help via the Ironman Foundation
A small country being hit by nature and bad politics, you are a little light of hope for those who has lost their home, their loved ones, their everything.
For the unsung heroes, thank you for answering the call to help people that you don't know, or even a country you have never heard off.