On Saturday night, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador’s northwestern coast. President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency, and returned from Rome this morning. Correa has used his Twitter account to keep the world updated as regularly as possible. On Sunday, Correa announced that the official number of casualties rose to 233, with Pedernales and Portoviejo suffering most of the damage. By Tuesday, April 19, the death toll had risen to more than 400.
According to the New York Times, Saturday’s devastating earthquake is the strongest Ecuador has seen since 1979. “We’re trying to do the most we can but there’s almost nothing we can do,” said Perdenales Mayor Gabriel Alcivar. “This wasn’t just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town.”
The Security Ministry said that “every emergency protocol has been activated.” Rescue teams from Colombia and Mexico will head to the South American country, and as many as 1,200 Red Cross Ecuador volunteers arrived on the scene to help with evacuation and first aid operations. But landslides, which have shut down some roads, pose difficulties for emergency workers trying to reach people in places hit hardest by the earthquake.
As news continues to emerge, one way to help is to donate to charities or relief organizations. Here are four places providing medicine, food, and clothing to Ecuadorians:
Update, 4/19: This post has been updated to reflect the latest information and to include more organizations.
United States Fund for UNICEF
UNICEF reports that while they don’t know the full extent of damage yet, they have water kits and tents ready to go to help children and families affected.
Oxfam International is sending teams to Ecuador and will work with the government to see where it can assist.
Global Shapers Quito
Local organization Global Shapers Quito is raising money to purchase and deliver blankets, water, medicine, mattresses, canned foods, and clean clothes.