On Saturday, April 16, 2016 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the coastal region of Ecuador.
Having spent the majority of last year in the country, the reports of mass casualties hit close to home.
Quito was rocked by the quake, but thankfully it was left intact. I have heard from or seen posts from most of my friends and students, and they are all safe. Rattled, but safe.
The same cannot be said for the coastal region, where the death toll continues to climb, currently hovering above 400. Violent images of streets torn apart and buildings collapsed are a lot more real when you have walked those streets.
Last Easter I relaxed in the sleepy surf town of Canoa. We basked in the heat, drank from coconuts, and collected enormous sand dollars on the beach. One of my students told me that Canoa “does not exist anymore”.
I mourn for the entire country of Ecuador.
On my first day of work at CEC-EPN, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook the city of Quito. I can vividly recall the absolute terror that I felt as the building swayed from side to side, my life at the mercy of the tremor. Since that day, I have been keenly aware of this phenomenon that had previously been unknown to me, and met every subsequent tremor with fear. It is difficult to understand the power of an earthquake until you have experienced it.
We live in a very safe place, both literally and figuratively. We are blissfully unaware of how close we could be to trauma- we never think that it will happen to us… until it does.
I would ask you each to do two things.
- Pray for the citizens of Ecuador.
- Donate to the rescue and rebuilding effort.
UNICEF, Ecuadorian Red Cross, OXFAM, and CARE are all taking special donations for the Ecuadorian earthquake.