On April 16, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook up Ecuador, killing at least 525 people and injuring over 4,000 people.
Cities like Manta, Portovieho and Guayaquil were severely destroyed and officials say that even after all of the debris is removed, there’s still the possibility there could be more dead bodies. The United States has gotten involved to attempt lending a helping hand by using the United Nations and the Red Cross to donate supplies and money.
Elected officials responded to the tragedy, offering helping hands, donations and candlelight vigils to help and send prayers to those in Ecuador.
“When I heard of the devastating earthquake that struck Ecuador, my heart sank. Like many Ecuadorians living in New York, my first thought was to reach my family and friends still living in Ecuador to know they were safe. Since then I have been working closely with members of the community and representatives from the government of Ecuador to connect families and organize relief efforts,” said Chairman of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights). “This disaster will continue to unfold in the days to come and the recovery efforts will likely take months. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with those affected. Ecuador may be a small country, but its people have big hearts. If anyone has questions they can call my office at 718-458-5367 and [we] will connect you with resources.”
“My heart goes out to all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Ecuador. My thoughts are also with the Ecuadorian-American community in my district, and across the U.S., who are seeking news of loved ones back home,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx).“The American people stand with those in Ecuador impacted by the disaster, as the search for survivors continues and as Ecuador begins the difficult path of recovering from this tragic event. I urge the U.S. government to offer emergency assistance to help Ecuador respond to this terrible tragedy, as well as grant Temporary Protected Status to Ecuadorians in the U.S.”
“We would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives in the devastating earthquake that impacted the Republic of Ecuador last Saturday. The deaths and lives impacted are tragedies with tremendous significance for the members of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force members,” said Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo. “The loss of life and the many injured saddens us all. The destruction and turmoil created by this force of nature is a source of great concern to New Yorkers, especially the hundreds of thousands Ecuadorian-Americans with family and friends in the region. International efforts to help the victims of this natural disaster are well underway. The Task Force feels confident with the immediate actions of the United Nations Development Programme and with the system the United Nations has set up to accept donations to help with relief efforts. We encourage every New Yorker to help with relief efforts and caution on only using trusted institutions when donating to help Ecuador at this time of need. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by this tragedy.”
Moya held a candlelight vigil yesterday [Wednesday, April 20] with Crowley and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) at St. Leo’s Church in Corona, New York at 7 p.m. to honor the victims and survivors of the earthquake. They were joined by community members as the prayer service was the first to take place.
“I have family out there. I’ve been trying to keep in constant communication with them, from what I’ve heard [they’re doing well], but I haven’t been able to reach them since Monday,” said Jose Gutierrez, a New York native.
Gutierrez’ wife said that it’s horrible to know that even after all of the debris is removed, there is a possibility that there could be more people who lost their lives.
This coming Sunday, Peralta, alongside Moya and Crowley, is holding a benefit concert at 7 p.m. at La Boom in Woodside, New York to raise funds to provide help for the victims of the earthquake.
To send donations through the Red Cross, visit here.