The scope of devastation and tragedy following the earthquake in Ecuador is heart wrenching. The Family Travel Association is, however, relieved to report that the staff, family and guests of its four Ecuador-based members are OK. More than that, they are all involved in supporting the recovery efforts in their country, both through direct voluntary assistance and by continuing to serve the interests of travelers in other parts of the country.
The team from Latin Trails commented “It is in times like this that we as a country support local industries. That is why we encourage you to support our country. We must remember that tourism is one of the few industries that has a higher multiplier effect in the country, providing employment and economic stability to the country.”
The Latin Trails Initiative video explains their earthquake recovery efforts and the importance of tourism’s multiplier effect in Ecuador.
Bram Evers of Pure! Travel Group reports that “Pure is making an effort to send several transport vehicles to the affected area with food, water, medicines and any other products people may need. The whole team is very united and we also have several staff with affected family and/or friends now crying for help. It’s going to be some rough months/years, but I’m sure that we will get over it!”
Jorge Pérez of Tierra del Volcan issued a press release saying “We thank you so much for your concern and messages. We have felt the support and empathy of our guest and dearest friends from the travel industry on these difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones, and those who are affected by this unexpected disaster.”
Mateo Ponce of Epik Adventure Guides shared that “We are OK, but for the people on the Pacific Coast it’s terrible. I came back yesterday from the coast helping rescue people and donating food and blankets, but the situation is very complex. But it’s amazing how people all over the country are helping.”
As widely reported, on Saturday, April 16, 2016, a 7.8 earthquake brought devastation to Ecuador. The epicenter of the quake was in the sea near the town of Pedernales and the most damage was done to the coastal provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas.
Although news coverage of the aftermath has predictably abated 10 days after the quake, two important topics continue to warrant urgent attention. First, outside of the coastal areas mentioned above, the direct impact of the earthquake has been minimal. The Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes, as well as the Galapagos Islands, including their airports, tourism infrastructure and all services are fully operational and meeting the needs of both residents and visitors. International travelers to these regions are urged NOT to cancel their plans, but should register with the local embassy upon arrival.
Second, in the impacted areas, approximately 750,000 people have been affected, with more than 650 deaths, 12,000+ injured, 7,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, and more than 29,000 people in shelters. Damage has been estimated in the billions of dollars. Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, now involving the delivery of safe drinking water, emergency food supplies, shelter materials, hygiene kits and more to communities in need, especially those cut off from assistance.
How to Help
Now is the time to show solidarity with Ecuador. Make a donation to relief efforts, but also don’t hesitate to plan a family visit to unaffected parts of the country. Everything helps.
If you would like to make a donation, please consider:
* Ecuador Relief Earthquake Fund – a locally-based fund focused on reaching out to small villages that have not yet received aid from international organizations and are not on the radar of big aid agencies. 100% of your contribution will be used to provide much-needed food, medicine and water, and to rebuild these villages directly with the families in need.
If you are in need of information about earthquake victims or missing persons, please contact the foreign consulates and embassies in Ecuador or review the Google person finder for the Ecuador Earthquake.
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