Monday, May 30, 2016

AFTERMATH - The Ecuador Quake (update)

"Ecuador looks to pick up pieces and rebuild after devastating earthquake" PBS NewsHour 5/26/2016


SUMMARY:  It's been just over a month since a deadly earthquake devastated Ecuador's Pacific coast, destroying thousands of buildings and impacting at least a quarter-million people.  As the government struggles with recovery costs and moves to rebuild, the disaster has also highlighted the need for tougher buildings codes — and enforcement.  Special correspondents Bruno Frederico and Nadja Drost report.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  It's been just over a month since a major earthquake devastated swathes of countryside and towns on Ecuador's Pacific coast; 663 people are officially confirmed dead.

And, as thousands more face the loss of their homes or workplace, videographer Bruno Federico and special correspondent Nadja Drost bring us this report from Manabi province on Ecuador's coast, where people are trying to rebuild their towns and lives.

ALFREDO JAMA, Fisherman (through interpreter):  That night was unforgettable.  I was bringing up the net, when, suddenly, I felt the boat vibrating too much.  It was like the floor burst open.

NADJA DROST (NewsHour):  It's the first time that fisherman Alfredo Jama has dared to return out to sea since an earthquake caught him by surprise on April 16th when he was fishing.

ALFREDO JAMA (through interpreter):  When I looked around, I saw an explosion that left us without light.  Everything was dark.  The sea bellowed from beneath.  It was like there was a beast coming up from under.  When I returned to the house, everything was a disaster.

NADJA DROST:  Jama's wife, Paola Farias, walked us through what used to be the two-story home of their extended family, which she also used for her nail salon.

PAOLA FARIAS, Salon Owner (through interpreter):  When I said, don't worry, it's over, was when the movement started more strongly.  The walls started falling.  We managed to leave the house.  It was terrible, because imagine how one works so hard for one's things, and from one moment to another, nothing.

NADJA DROST:  Farias is one of at least 250,000 Ecuadorians directly affected by an earthquake that knocked down thousands of buildings.  It also set off an outpouring of support from fellow Ecuadorians, like Karla Morales, the director of local human rights group Kahre.

She was at home in the city of Guayaquil, over 150 miles south of the epicenter, the night the quake hit.

KARLA MORALES,  And in that moment, I just sent a tweet.

NADJA DROST:  “Bring supplies to my house tomorrow,” Karla wrote, and she'd drive them north to the earthquake-affected region the next afternoon.

KARLA MORALES:  And I didn't expect that people were so interested in helping and with so much compassion and solidarity.  There were like 600 or maybe 1,000 people in my house, bringing help and helping with all that donations that we were receiving in that moment.

NADJA DROST:  Karla ended up sending 23 large truckloads of materials that day.  Since then, her team continues to distribute donations, from water filters to mattresses, to rural areas, where help has been slower to reach.

Ecuador hadn't expected an earthquake, but preparing for a different emergency, a volcanic eruption and flooding, helped it respond quickly, says Tim Callaghan of USAID.

No comments: