QUITO, ECUADOR (April 28, 2016) — Two weeks after Ecuador’s most destructive earthquake in decades, Covenant World Relief (CWR) continues to support the Covenant Church of Ecuador as it joins other groups in relief and recovery efforts. CWR, which began sending financial support almost immediately following the disaster, says donations from the Covenant community are still needed.
More than 650 people have been killed and more than 16,000 injured by the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck 100 miles west of Quito on April 16. In news reports from Reuters, Ecuadorian officials estimate about $3 billion in damages and believe short-term reconstruction will require “tens of millions of dollars.”
The Covenant Church of Ecuador (Iglesia del Pacto Evangelico Ecuador, or IPEE) has been actively responding to its nation’s humanitarian crisis. Trucks filled with essential supplies have been sent to devastated areas, medical teams also have gone out to provide basic medical care, and an IPEE-owned camp in Santo Domingo has been re-purposed to provide temporary shelter for about 70 people who have lost their homes. IPEE is sending a rotating group of ten volunteers to the camp to be there at all times working in the areas of administration, security, child care, psychological counseling, and spiritual support. Covenant missionaries Erik and Kristina Amundsen are on the ground with IPEE, working around the clock to assist in the relief efforts. On her Facebook page, Kristina has provided frequent updates on their activities. Below is a post from April 26:
“It has now been 10 days since the destructive earthquake here in Ecuador. For the past week and a half, our regular lives have been put on hold as planning the relief and recovery efforts with IPEE has been all consuming. There is a huge learning curve as none of us are experienced in disasters such as this. It’s clear that our endurance is being tested and we daily see less and less people showing up to help (although, there are still many working very hard). There have also been instances of people taking advantage of the crisis for their own gain, and the ugliness is starting to compete with the beauty of solidarity and humanity caring for one another. We are doing our best to continually reevaluate our strengths and how best we can contribute. Prayers for strength, wisdom, and continued support would be appreciated. AND please spread the word to friends so that this topic doesn’t fall off of the world’s radar!”
In an email update to the ECC’s Serve Globally leaders, the Amundsens shared other key facts about relief efforts:
- Two medical caravans have gone out to provide short-term care. They are mostly finding people with high blood pressure and diabetes who are lacking in medicine.
- A letter was sent on behalf of IPEE president Henry Burbano yesterday to Covenant church leaders around the world asking for prayers and financial support.
- In Manabí there is a strong team of volunteers and missionaries working in the most affected areas distributing supplies and strategizing about the relief efforts.
Those who would like to make a donation toward relief efforts in Ecuador can go to the Covenant World Relief giving site. Also, checks designated for “Ecuador Earthquake Relief” can be mailed to: Covenant World Relief, 8303 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631.