Por Jesika Millano
Para AL DÍA TODAY
PALM BAY — The central coast of Ecuador wasn’t the only area in great need of donations for the victims of a 7.8-scale earthquake that struck the country on April 16. The earthquake also decimated various provinces, including Manabí and Esmeraldas, in its wake.
In many other locations around the world, people opened their wallets in order to make donations to help those affected. In Melbourne, the Ecuadorian American Association de Brevard, in conjunction with the Servientrega shipping company, organized a donation center where they collected 13 boxes full of nonperishable food, water, blankets, toys, medicine and clothes.
Ana Corrente, association president, said the donations were collected at the Brevard Family Fair and Seniors Expo held on May 7 in Palm Bay.
“The loss was great. Many families have lost everything and international aid has been the helping hand to the victims, helping them to know that they are not alone in these difficult times,” Corrente said.
“Everyone wants to fight and overcome this, not just for them, but for all Ecuadorian people,” she added.
Many water bottles, containers of food, and other types of supplies were collected. Some people filled the donation truck with needed items, while others packed or received donations.
Christian Erazo, a 20-year-old guayaquilero living in the U.S., began collecting donations for those affected in the earthquake shortly after the tragedy occurred. He took various things from his shelves such as food, bottled water, and clothes. He also invited many others to join him.
“We are so far away watching what is happening in our country. Obviously, this motivated us to collaborate to try and help them to have what they need,” Erazo said. “In a case like this, the least that we can do is put shoes on the victims. I made a donation from my heart because these are people from my own country,” he said.
Although none of his family or friends were injured in the earthquake, Erazo admitted that he still felt awful about what happened.
Corrente said a friend of hers was killed in the quake after being trapped in the rubble.
“I felt so much pain because of this loss and I thought for a moment about how hard it must be for the people who are living in that calamity,” she said.
Meanwhile, Marcela Irreño, owner of the Servientrega franchise in Melbourne, explained that for his collection of donations, the company provided containers to transport supplies to Ecuador.
In total, there were two truckloads of supplies under meticulous quality control that were delivered to the Red Cross.
“Humanitarian work is a commitment of the heart that everyone should make. It is carried in the blood or in the heart, for you today and tomorrow for me,” Irreño explained.
He added that other communities in the U.S. worked together to send donations. In addition, 235 other Servientrega franchises were authorized in the country and were responsible for getting the collected donations to Ecuador.
Ana Corrente thanked Servientrega for their assistance. She also thanked the Brevard Family Fair and Seniors Expo, run by Javier Molinares, which featured The Ecuadorian American Association de Brevard.
The association was founded seven years ago with the mission of providing information and assistance in various social areas for the Ecuadorian community in Brevard County.
“The idea is to guide Ecuadorians that arrive to the States and provide them with information in order to improve their standard of living. This natural disaster has given us a reason to join with our brothers in Ecuador,” Corrente explained.
According to information gathered in the Ecuador Trade Journal, the total number of deaths after April’s earthquake rose to 659. This information is based on data provided by the Office of Attorneys.
Similarly, there have been 40 missing persons discovered. As of early June, the number of people in shelters remains at 29,067. In addition, currently there are 39 active shelters and 64 temporary shelters receiving a total of 6,804 families. It has identified 840 people with disabilities, of which 268 are in shelters.
The majority of families are housed mainly in the province of Manabi: 347 families are in an old airport in Portoviejo; 500 families in the state of Canoa; 363 in Pedernales; and 420 in Jama.
In Muisne, Esmeraldas province, there are 290 sheltered families.