QUITO, ECUADOR (June 7, 2016) — The Covenant Church of Ecuador (IPEE) continues to provide medical caravans and counseling to victims of the April 16 earthquake, but reconstruction efforts have stalled, in part due to continuing aftershocks, denomination president Henry Burbano wrote in a letter last week to Covenant World Relief.
Pastors in the affected region, as well as others who have traveled from different parts of the country, continue to assist people in the impacted communities. “Within our strategies that we use is the attempt to reach person to person with the message of salvation, giving food to those who need it, and providing non-perishable food to them,” Burbano said.
Burbano said additional staff are being trained to help people suffering emotional trauma. “After 20 days the effects of the trauma are heightened, and after three months comes an even more difficult time where people may begin to feel they have been abandoned.”
More than 1,700 aftershocks have shaken the region, although not all have been felt, Burbano said. As a result, it is not possible to begin reconstruction. The need for construction permits and additional financial resources also limit the ability to move forward.
At least one church and possibly a second will need to be rebuilt. The congregation in Manabi has built an improvised meeting space until they are able to tear down the original church building and construct another, Burbano said. In Montecristi, members have started to tear down the third floor, but the entire building may need to be demolished.
Walls for at least five classrooms at a school the church operates in Guayaquil also need to be torn down “because there is a risk that they would fall on the children,” Burbano said.
Despite the ministry challenges, Burbano said, “We continue to be thankful to God for all of his help and to our sister churches and other churches around the world.”
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.