On Saturday, April 16th, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit about 17 miles (27km) from Muisne, Ecuador. At least 673 people were killed and 27,732 people injured. The quake was Ecuador's largest since 1979 and was six times more powerful than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan. More than 130 aftershocks followed. The cities of Manta, Portoviejo, and Pedernales suffered the most casualties and damage, but there were fatalities as far away as Guayaquil where an overpass collapsed.
Foundation Beyond Belief chose Water Ecuador as the beneficiary in the Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive we began the wake of the earthquake. Water Ecuador was our Q4 2013 Poverty and Health beneficiary and our Pathfinders Project (the precursor to our Humanist Action: Ghana) worked with Water Ecuador in February of 2014, helping them to install a water treatment facility on Isla Puna (off the coast from Guayaquil). Water Ecuador began in Muisne and their president continues to live there. One hundred percent of the donations raised during this drive went to Water Ecuador. HDR Drives are a cooperative program between Foundation Beyond Belief and American Humanist Association.
Water Ecuador recently sent us an update to let us know how our funds help in the rebuilding. For instance, they worked to fundraise to provide money for emergency supplies as well as the reconstruction of water centers to supply free water for those affected by the earthquake. That money raised went to provide items such as water, tanks and bottles for water, food, medicine, mattresses, mosquito nets, tarps, bug spray, and other general necessities.
Water Ecuador's focus has always been on water and health. Populations affected by natural disasters are often more vulnerable to outbreaks of disease. While funds raised immediately after the earthquake went to help with immediate necessities such as food and medicine, their fundraising also has gone towards the long-term reconstruction and wellbeing of the community. Their long-term relief efforts helped fund the reconstruction, opening, and operation of water centers that provided water free of charge to those affected by the earthquake.