Desperation in Ecuador as Rescuers, Relief Workers Race the Clock

Ecuador earthquake
Ecuador Earthquake:
MANTA, Ecuador – The death toll in Ecuador is on the rise after last week’s massive earthquakes. At least 550 people have been killed, and strong aftershocks continue to rattle the survivors.
Survivors of the quake have waited in line all day for food trucks to deliver supplies. CBN News was on the scene in one location where, as of 5 p.m., the truck still had not come, and tempers were starting to flare.
“We need a lot of things, especially food, milk, water…we have no water,” one woman said.
“There’s no water in the tap – how do we bathe or drink? What little they are giving out isn’t close to enough,” one man said with desperation in his voice.
The scale of this disaster makes quick response very difficult. Many of those affected are in remote areas along the coast, now reachable only by air.
Ecuadorian air force helicopters are struggling to get enough aid to small villages near the epicenter of the quake. CBN News accompanied a flight to the town of Jama, where soldiers quickly unloaded the supplies – a drop in the bucket compared to the need.
Many buildings in Portoviejo still standing are now uninhabitable and will have to be demolished, and rescue workers continue to race against the clock looking for survivors amid the ruins.
As if destroyed buildings and infrastructure weren’t enough, hundreds are still trapped under mounds of rubble, tens of thousands are homeless, and a lack of fresh water is the latest tragedy in the unfolding crisis in Ecuador.
With temperatures in the nineties during the day, dehydration is becoming a real issue. Resident from the city of Manta are flocking to distribution centers looking for food, clothing and fresh water, while those too far to reach the distributions stand alongside the road begging for help from passing vehicles.
Throughout the area, people are getting desperate, and Operation Blessing is stepping in to help.
Pastor Paul Candela heads a large church, Templo Metropolitano Alianza, in Portoviejo that is working together with Operation Blessing.
“Things are pretty difficult right now because as the hours and days go by, things get more complicated. The rescue teams will soon stop looking for survivors and just move forward with the recovery of those who have died in the rubble,” Pastor Candela said.
Church members are volunteering to help Operation Blessing assemble and distribute hundreds of care packages with food and water.
“We see a future where there will be a lot of suffering because employees without work mean business owners without businesses,” Pandela explained, “which means people won’t be able to pay their bills, and they won’t have a way to get by. Everything affects everything. And this will lead to big social problems in the future.”
The Operation Blessing volunteers are working to alleviate people’s suffering and save lives by reaching areas outside the city.
“Right now we are focused on serving the community – going to outlying places that have no food or water and giving out supplies,” Candela said.
And the situation is gravest outside the cities where thirsty people line the roads begging for water, and getting more and more desperate with every car that goes by.
Carmen Rivera’s baby John Paul is only three weeks old. His mother is beside herself.
“There is no milk or diapers for my baby. He can’t nurse because I’m not making milk, and his formula has run out. The stores are closed up because the buildings are all destroyed. We sent someone out to look for milk but they couldn’t find any,” Rivera said.
It will likely be months before these residents can get water from their own taps once again, and many here are afraid they won’t be able to hold out that long. But Operation Blessing will be there as long as it takes, bringing water to those in need.