During his tour of the disaster area on Tuesday, President Rafael Correa twice mentioned the generosity of Cuenca for its support of victims of Saturday’s earthquake.
“Aid from Cuenca is arriving by truck and by plane, and many volunteer doctors and nurses and rescue workers are on the ground here,” he said.
Dozens of government agencies, businesses and charity organizations are involved in the relief efforts. The governments of the municipality of Cuenca and of the Province of Azuay, as well as offices of several federal agencies, are collecting donations in town, sorting and shipping around the clock. Businesses, such as Supermaxi and Coral Centro are collecting water, food and clothing at their stores, while other organizations collect cash donations to buy supplies.
“We are all in this together to help our brothers and sisters,” said Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera. “It is important to understand that this is just the beginning. The needs of the people on the coast will continue for months and months and we are prepared to help.”
At the provincial government building on Parque Calderon, expats worked alongside government workers and local volunteers to load trucks on Tuesday. Among them was Bob Shearer, who said he was walking by and asked if he could help. “I feel very fortunate to be in Cuenca, away from the disaster, so this is one way I can repay the people of Ecuador for their kindness and hospitality toward me and my family,” he said.
In addition to the supplies, hundreds of Cuencanos, including expats, are already working in relief roles in the earthquake zone.
Expat organizations have contributed thousands of dollars in cash donations and supplies to the reflief effort. CuencaHighLife raised almost $2,200 in two days according to General Manager Jonathan Mogrovejo. “The supplies we purchased with the contributions from our readers are on their way to the coast.” He said CuencaHighLife is partnering with television station Unison to deliver the goods. “They are headed to Portoviejo and other inland areas that have not received as much help as coastal cities,” Mogrovejo said.
Mogrovejo called the website’s effort a “flash” campaign. “We are not in the business of charity and volunteer work but we wanted to get a jump start on getting supplies to the victims,” he said. “Please continue to give to one of the local groups involved in this work for the long-term.
Among the charities he recommends are EcuadorCares (contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for ways to give) and Hearts of Gold (click here). Both organizations have already made shipments to the coast.
For other donation options, click here.