Ecuador Flood Relief
News | April 28, 2017 by Tzu Chi USA
With the passing of the one year anniversary of the Ecuador earthquake in 2016, the people of Ecuador have long since commenced a slow march towards recovery. They never said that rebuilding their cities would be easy, but they never backed away from the task. With fortitude and compassion, local residents joined hands with our relief volunteers, and undertook the endeavor together. We introduced a Cash-For-Relief program to empower residents in recreating their former lives and homes, stone by stone, provided disaster relief, set the framework for rebuilding a beloved church, and above all, helped inspire hope. As progress was being made, however, another obstacle was hefted upon their already too-heavy load to bear. Torrential rains inundated Ecuador, threatening to wash away their hard work. Floods rose in the streets, and mudslides encrusted seemingly every surface in sight. Volunteers have now returned to Ecuador for further relief, and have reinstated Cash-For-Relief.
3,000 individuals came together in solidarity for our final day of Cash-For-Relief in Santa Ana. With hearts overflowing in gratitude, residents took in the progress they had achieved with the confidence that they could move forward once more. Although additional work lies ahead, businesses have begun to operate, and students are eagerly returning to school, as much of the mud that plagued their community has now been cleared away.
“Santa Ana had become mud itself, but now we are better than we were before.”
- Angel Molina, Santa Ana business owner
May 2, 2017
During our Cash-For-Relief efforts to aid those struggling after the flood , our volunteers provided 14,625 temporary job opportunities, distributing $219,780 in aid. On the last day of our program in Pisloy, Portoviejo, one participant gave us this heartfelt farewell:
“Sincerely, from the deepest part of my heart, I speak on behalf of all Ecuadorian people. We thank you. We are so sincerely grateful for all of your help. We love you. Thank you, thank you, thousands of thank you’s ... With lots of loves and care.”
The women of Ecuador serve as a pillar of society, which inspires us all. The mothers and matriarchs of Pisloy came out in the heat to help with the restoration of their communities and build a better life for their children. Our relief mission continues to help these lionhearted women.
In a short time, the Santa Ana residents working through our Cash-For-Relief program have made great strides in their efforts to rebuild their communities. Dedicated and loving workers have led the way in repairing homes and restoring faith for residents. Our disaster relief mission has impacted participating residents deeply, and they wish to continue doing this kind of work.
May 1, 2017
On the 7th day of our flood relief mission, Cash-For-Relief programs were held in both Santa Ana and Portoviejo, where approximately 3,300 people joined. Hard working women from low-income families got into the field and made tremendous efforts to not only rebuild their communities but also gain access to resources for their children and their children's’ educational needs. To date, our Cash-For-Relief program has provided $168,855 USD in aid, and created 11,257 temporary jobs, benefiting more than 9,580 families. When our Cash-For-Relief program reaches impoverished communities, it touches a chord with people desperate to improve their life, who are doing all they can for their families.
April 30, 2017
Our 6th day of Cash-For-Relief took us to Pisloy, in Portoviejo, Ecuador. In a community with only 1,747 inhabitants, 752 individuals took part in our disaster aid program, clearing away the mud that caked their streets. Ensuring that no one was left behind, participants checked in on the elderly and the infirm, resolutely extending their hands in aid however they were able. Love saves, and it’s that sentiment that entwines every heart together, no matter the distance. Brimming with hope, and deeply satisfied with what they had accomplished together, the people of Ecuador are one step closer to achieving their goal.
April 29, 2017
Santa Ana is a small, often forgotten, city that suffered some of the worst flooding in Ecuador due to its close proximity to the Portoviejo River. In the past 5 days, thousands of local residents joined our Cash-For-Relief program and helped clean up the communities and schools. Our mission warmed the hearts of recipients and inspired a new sense of belief in Ecuador’s volunteers.
The cataclysmic floods left homes in ruins, and forced some survivors to leave their families behind. Santa Ana’s Mayor, Fernando Cedeño, partnered with us to organize cleanup efforts, helping to bring inspiration and a new understanding of unity to the local community.
April 28, 2017
With the effort of now over 1,500 participants in our Cash-For-Relief program in Manabi, and additional volunteers pouring in from other towns and the U.S., by the end of the 4th day one can see the evident progress being made in the cleanup of La Dolorosa.
Thanks to machinery lent by the municipality, the heavy muck is gone in many areas, and people can actually wash the exposed pavement, restoring streets to their condition before the muddy mess left by the flood. The smiles abound as everyone lovingly and with concerted dedication can reclaim their hometown after the wrath of Mother Nature, and they are dreaming of how they’ll use the precious earnings at the end of each day to advance their recovery from this latest disaster.
Over 1,500 local residents joined Day 4 of our Cash-For-Relief program, along with volunteers from afar who came to help out, and soon, La Dolorosa started to look like it used to before the flood. “We are workers. We don’t give up!” And neither should we, because even when the task seems insurmountable, every little bit of help makes a difference.
April 27, 2017
Once again returning for a third day, 859 participants arrived to partake in our Cash-For-Relief program, eager to uncover Santa Ana from the muck. Some with bare feet, residents took to the streets with renewed vigor, reaching out to the vulnerable and the infirm within the community. Neighbor to neighbor, they worked to assure the wellbeing of each person, as they furthered their cleanup with undaunted ardor. By the end of the day, a total of $12,885 USD was given out to aid participants and their families!
“When the lady showed her gratitude for what we were doing I got emotional. I got goosebumps, I wanted to cry. I feel that my soul gets purified a lot even when helping others a little. Adding even a grain of sand in Santa Ana means a lot to me”
- Anita Sánchez
Thanks to our Cash-For-Relief program that came to this town after recent floods, things are beginning to look up, as everyone else in La Dolorosa, is encouraged to go on.
April 26, 2017
Today marked day two of Cash-For-Relief in Santa Ana. A crowd of 1,006 assembled - an astonishing 7 times the amount of participants that joined the program yesterday. Armed with wheelbarrows and determination once more, the group labored for hours on the hardened mud that coated La Dolorosa, one of the poorest communities north of Santa Ana. Wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, hand to hand, hundreds of square feet were shoveled and washed. Muscles aching, participants worked with zeal to find and rekindle the light of their community. At the end of the day, $15,090 USD was given to participants.
April 25, 2017
The flooding that Manabí experienced devastated many areas, leaving many neighborhoods caked in several inches of mud and debris. With shovels, wheelbarrows, and brooms in hand, residents of Santa Ana set out today as part of our Cash-For-Relief program, ready to make a difference in their community.
Two local schools were tackled first, along with the surrounding streets. With their collective effort, they unearthed and cleaned desks to a shine, filling the building with contented smiles. Our disaster relief mission will expand in the days to come, continuing to offer aid in this nation still recovering after the catastrophic earthquake in 2016.
April 24, 2017
After conducting assessment of this disaster, and establishing the immediate needs of residents, our volunteers launched a Cash-For-Relief program today in Santa Ana, a canton located in Manabí Province. Residents eagerly joined in, with 200 individuals registering on the very first day. Locals will organize to clean up the community of Rodana as well as nearby school districts, while being compensated $15 USD for their work per day.
“United in solidarity we’re a strong force.”
- Luis Antonio Alcibar
This program will allow the people of Santa Ana to literally take the revitalization of their own communities into their own hands, and mold it into something they can be proud of!
April 16, 2017
A a combination of flash floods and thick sheets of mud have plagued large parts of western South America for weeks, and those affected in Ecuador can only wait now for the water to recede. Sleeping in the streets as their homes accumulate with murky water, and coping with the lack of bathrooms, many also face new public health concerns. An estimated 1,500 residents are feeling the effects of the disaster. Our relief volunteers in Ecuador are continuing their assessment, and monitoring the situation closely.