Organizations respond to Ecuador earthquake

May 9, 2016 by

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Local Mennonites and mission agencies responded after a powerful earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Ecuador April 16, followed by a second quake four days later. At least 570 people were killed, and more than 7,000 were injured.

People from the Mennonite church of Guayaquil, Ecuador, load relief materials on a truck to take to Manta for those affected by recent earthquakes. — Mennonite Mission Network

People from the Mennonite church of Guayaquil, Ecuador, load relief materials on a truck to take to Manta for those affected by recent earthquakes. — Mennonite Mission Network

Rosedale Mennonite Missions and the Ecuadorian Evangelical Mennonite Church, or IEME, are coordinating efforts to respond to immediate needs. IEME is a member denomination of the Conservative Mennonite Conference and has about 1,500 members.

Rosedale is collecting donations to be forwarded directly by IEME to local Ecuadorian churches, which are distributing supplies, water, medicine, clothing and shelter.

IEME vice president Angel Castro said the devastation in coastal cities was great, with highways destroyed in several places, spotty phone service, limited food and almost no drinking water. There are more injured people than hospitals can handle.

“From what we know about our congregations; we do know that the parents of Pastor Fabian Buenaventura have lost their home, the home of the mother of Hermana Graciela has been totally destroyed, and the home of Pastor Tumbaco has a wall that collapsed,” he said.

With encouragement from Rosedale, Mennonite Central Committee sent disaster response coordinator David Shenk to assist IEME in assessing the need and planning the response. MCC will determine how best to support IEME’s plans. The Mennonite denominations in Colombia, including Mennonite Brethren, are also responding through the regional MCC office.

MCC has three service workers in Ecuador working with Quito Mennonite Church as the church assists Colombian refugees there. The capital city, Quito, was not affected by the quakes, and the workers and church members there are safe.

No major damage was reported in communities where Mennonite Mission Network workers serve.

A group of 10 people from the Guayaquil church left for Manta on April 21 with a truckload of basic food and water supplies.

The Ecuador Partnership personnel currently include five international workers and their families sent by MMN, and an associate sent by the Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (Christian Mennonite Church of Colombia).


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