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Earthquake in Ecuador

It’s now been about 48 hours since the devastating earthquake in my beloved Ecuador.  The 7.8 earthquake struck near the western coastal city of Muisne, in the province of Manabí.  Many of the coastal towns are practically destroyed, and my birth city of Guayaquil suffered huge structural damage, with bridges collapsing and many buildings reduced to rubble.

Ecuador is used to earthquakes, so many buildings are not built out of wood, as in the US, but out of solid concrete.  Unfortunately, even concrete can’t fully withstand the seismic forces at play here, and so you see piles of cracked concrete blocks with rebar sticking out on the news where buildings once stood.

It is well-known that Ecuador is a third-world country, and many of the hardest hit areas are poor.  Many are asking how we in the US (especially faraway places like Hawaii) can help.  There is no easy answer here.  Corruption is rife in my country- you cannot be sure that your monetary donation will ever reach the organization you’ve sent it to, and even if it does, it might not be used in the way you want it to be.

My cousin in Guayaquil is using his executive car/taxi service as a mobile donation pickup service.  Many are unwilling or unable to leave their homes but can still help in some way, so they use Twitter to let his business know that they have donations, and one of his fleet will pick up the donations and deliver them to the official distribution centers that have been set up in the city.

Another cousin, in Florida, has a friend who has purchased tickets to Ecuador, and will be using all his luggage allowance for donations and supplies purchased in bulk.

These are probably the only ways I would help as of right now.  I’d use my parents’ account to send money to pay for the fleet’s gas/employees, or send a check to my cousin to buy goods on my behalf.  In other words, I’d only send $$$ to people I already know and trust. 

My family is going to let me know if there is a reliable way to send money to Ecuador, and if I have something, I will certainly share it here.  In the meantime, please hug your loved ones, and keep my vibrant and resilient Ecuador in your thoughts.

ecuador176

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