Deadly Quake Leaves Ecuador in Shambles

Deadly Quake Leaves Ecuador in Shambles

Alyna Kim, Feature / Opinion Editor

  Ecuador’s earthquake left 2000 injured, with a death toll of 480 and billions of dollars in reconstruction costs following close behind.

  A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 shook the coast of Portoviejo, Ecuador, on Saturday evening, leaving a trail of destruction behind it.  The nearby city of Perdernales “is devastated,” according to Mayor Gabriel Alcivar.  “Buildings have fallen down, especially hotels where there are lots of tourists staying.”

  The injured received care from both makeshift tents and hospitals as more people are found.  Many people are camping out in the streets, waiting for aid.  “There’s nothing left of the houses and nowhere left to stay, resident Betty Reyna, 44, told a reporter from Reuters, an international news agency stationed in England.

  Over the past few days, smaller earthquakes have reverberated through the area as well.  Among the dead is one confirmed U.S citizen, Sister Clare Theresa Crockett, a missionary nun from Derry in Northern Ireland, and two Canadian visitors, Jennifer Mawn, 38, and her son Arthur, 12.

  “It’s a horrific situation, like a nightmare for Ecuador,” Nadir Ahktar (12) said.  “The government will have to pray for the support of all people as it taxes everyone proportionally to contribute to rebuilding and providing aid for the recently dispersed. However, due to falling oil prices, Ecuador will have an incredibly difficult time recovering. I fear that not even global support will be enough to assist the people of Ecuador sufficiently.”

  Rescuers and survivors alike are still looking for friends and family in the city debris.  Teams from Spain, Switzerland, and several Latin American countries have also arrived to give their aid.  Firefighters in both Portoviejo and Pedernales are busy with moving rubble and rescuing people from the wreckage.  “There are signs of life in the rubble, and that is being prioritized,” said President Correa.

  There have been reports of people stealing clothes and shoes from the wreckage, as well as of armed men robbing two trucks carrying essentials to the areas around the epicenter.  These accounts have sparked fear of looting in city authorities.  In addition, the local prison came down in the subsequent aftershocks.  Over 35 of the some 130 inmates that escaped have been recaptured.

  Although both countries lie on the seismically active Ring of Fire, a connection between Japan’s recent deadly tremor and Ecuador’s current quakes “is unlikely,” according to CBC News.  The distance between the two countries is too great to have caused each other.

  While response to the emergency was quick and attentive, some citizens still express dissatisfaction because a few areas have not received electricity and supplies yet.

  Ready.gov has free earthquake preparedness guides available.  Because every state in the United States is also susceptible to earthquakes, it is important to be cognizant of the safety precautions that should be taken.