In the wake of last April's earthquake in Ecuador, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding with food and water to affected communities. At 7.8 units on the Richter scale, the quake was the country's most intense in nearly 40 years.
The April 16 disaster killed more than 650 people, injured a further 16,600, and displaced more than 29,000 from their homes. Bishop Silvio Cevallos of the Evangelical United Methodist Church of Ecuador (EUMCE) issued an international plea for help and called on the peoples of the world to "continue to hold our country in prayer."
UMCOR is partnering with EUMCE to provide emergency food supplies to coastal communities, where earthquake damage was extensive. Each family food kit contains a one-month supply of items that include rice, pasta, cornmeal, beans, tuna, powdered milk, and other basics, as recommended by the Government of Ecuador.
Getting supplies to where they are needed most is often hard, as the quake's approximately 800 aftershocks have been accompanied by landslides that have closed many roads. The shocks also caused cuts in power supply and communications, many of them long-lasting.
|A mother gives her daughter a drink of water that was recently filtered through a purification unit supplied by GlobalMedic with support from UMCOR. Photo: GlobalMedic.
UMCOR is ensuring that potable water gets to those who need it and is supplying water-purification filters through partner GlobalMedic, an international agency with which UMCOR has frequently worked to get clean water to communities following disasters.
In Ecuador's affected area, 990 families will receive household-size water filters. Five community filters with capacity to process about four liters of fresh water a minute plus a much larger filter that can process about 40 liters per minute will be provided. Altogether, about 15,000 people will get access to fresh water that they otherwise would not have.
"What is important is that we are providing water on a large scale to those affected by the disaster and that local partners will be trained to operate these filters," noted Laurie Felder, executive secretary for UMCOR International Disaster Response.
"These filters will have lasting effect," she added. "They will continue to provide potable water to people long after the three-month period of this intervention is completed."
David Tereshchuk, journalist, media critic and regular contributor to www.umcor.org
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