Ecuador Earthquake Update

Now that the Ecuador earthquake is out of the news cycle it is time for the reality of this disaster to sink in.

First thanks to everyone who order Ecuador roses for Mother’s day.   We donated the $700 we would normally have received from those sales to the Red Cross in Ecuador.  In addition, many buyers added a $10 or $20 donation amounting to an additional $210 or a total of  $910 was donated to the Red Cross.  There was also an additional $120.00 donated to another organization at a donors request. As you can see below, that money will go a long way.

Here are emails from various friends and readers who live on Ecuador’s coast.  They tell how the earthquake is affecting them.

Hello, everyone!   For those that know me, I know I haven’t been on the internet much since I’ve moved to Ecuador, because we can’t get internet to our small town in the jungle where we live. So, I am sorry for any lack of communication.  We are only 4 miles from the town of Canoa, which was devastated 2 weeks ago by a 7.8 earthquake. Many of you might not even realize the destruction here since the U.S. news has sugar coated it.  My husband and I have been working non stop to try and secure the standing buildings that are in danger of further life loss or property damage.   After this, we have long term goals to help rebuild this wonderful fishing village and surf town so people can get back in their homes and rebuild everything they have lost.

A reader from Galapagos  wrote:

We are lifting Ecuador from the rubble.  When one of the most devastating earthquakes since 1979 hit the Pacific Coast, Ecuador did nothing but open it’s arms and continue to welcome visitors from around the world. Amidst the developing relief effort, Ecuador is the same country everyone has always fallen in love with.

The popular tourism motto, “All You Need Is Ecuador” still rings true.  If you want to be inspired, see bio-diversity and pristine wilderness and colossal giants boasting mountaineering adventures with a taste of vibrant culture and gastronomy intertwined with soul-filling foods from Andes and Coast, Ecuador is the place for you.

A reader from Bahia wrote:  I apologize for my tardy communication but there was a disturbance here that brought my house down around my ears. No power,water,internet or cold beer anywhere in Bahia. Desastre!  However I have my animal pals Ramus and Gato for company. Never thought I,d ever be camping out again but here I am lugging buckets of water from the ground cistern for bird baths in a lawn chair,filling the one toilet that survived,doing laundry and dishes,plants and animals.  And I always hated camping. Bahia was leveled by the quake,my house held but all windows,ceramic tile,cabinets,dishes, rocketed around like shrapnel in total blackness at 6:58 pm. Knocked to floor and dog paddled out the door.  That was 9 days ago,still no power, no shower, no nada.  Local mall just reopened with free wifi, my 1st contact with the other world.  Still digging out, shoveling glass,debris and tile and waging war with mosquitoes in my windowless home.  Beats sitting around a nursing home.

A developer from the coast wrote: I’m sure everyone has been watching the news and seen the devastation that has rocked this country, including Bahia.  The last week we have been helping supply people with food and water and clearing areas and streets of rubble.  It is an emotional and tough time at the moment as many families have been negatively affected through losing family members and friends.

We have visited the Las Olas site and we are very happy to say that what we have been building and working on has not been affected in anyway.  Our retaining walls are intact and our terraces have not seen any damage.  This is a testament to the effort and quality that we are building our Las Olas community to.  We will be getting back to work on Monday 25th April and will once again assess the site thoroughly to ensure that we build homes to the highest quality and specifications we can to ensure our community is safe in the event of any future natural disasters.  With home construction underway, and our golf course getting more and more grass, Las Olas is very close to being the active living community we envisioned.

Many readers have asked about making donations and we created a program where readers could match the donations Merri and I made to the Red Cross in Ecuador.

Others have asked for ways to donate more directly.

Here is a note and a donation request from our friend Floridalva Zambrano.   She is most trustworthy and over the past decades has helped hundreds of our readers.  We trust her completely so donations here are ones I feel with great confidence will be highly effective.

Flori lives in Puerto Viejo one of the hardest hit Ecuador cities.


Floridalva Zambrano speaking to a group of investors in 2009.

Flori wrote:  As you all know, we are going through very difficult times since the 7.8 earthquake hit the coasts of Ecuador on April 16th, particularly Manabi. However, as a result, we have also experienced the compassion and solidarity of people from other provinces of Ecuador, as well as people from outside the country, just like you.  We are tremendously grateful for your concern and prayers and for the offer to help that we have received from many of you.

Zambrano & Asociados would like to inform that the building where our office is located in Portoviejo did not suffered any structural damage; however, areas around it, including buildings such as the Court House and Disctrict Attorney’s office, were seriously affected; electriciy and water supply has not been established so far. Authorities estimate that cleaning and restoring services will take at least 2 months, since the whole downtown Portoviejo was devastated by the earthquake.

Therefore, we have temporarily moved our office to my house.  Our physical files and equipment did not suffered any major damage.  Electronic files are safe and they are kept in an external backup, which we try to keep as current as possible.   

We offered to help any way we could and Flori replied:

Dear Gary:  Thank you very much for your offer.  I really appreciate your willingness to help. Since I have volunteered for over 20 years with CAS, which is a community service arm from my church;  we have been discussing the best ways to help people.  During  the emergency, we were able to provide assistance by delivering food, water, organizing rescue and cleaning teams, medical teams, etc.

Now, two weeks after this terrible event, we realize that there are other arising needs for the thousands of people that have been affected.  Official figures state that there are 660 deaths, 33 missing people, 30.073 injured, 22.421 people in shelters, 6.998 fully destroyed buildings, 2.740 damaged constructions, 13 health centers and 560 educational facilities among the affected buildings (Source: National Department of Risks), so we would like to share the needs we have identified and the solutions we have considered so that you can make a decision on how you would like to help us meet these needs:

1.  Food:
A. For people in shelters.
B. For people who, although they have a home, have lost their small businesses or means of living.

2.       Medicine:
A.      For respiratory diseases, digestive disorders, infections, ofthalmic and skin diseases. The public health system does not have the necessary coverage.
B.      For chronic diseases that require continuous treatment (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.)

3.       Housing

4. Sustainable living resources

5.       Volunteer work



The supply of food to jobless people is for three months at least, since the whole commercial and administrative area of Portoviejo, around which the economic life of the city and province revolved, has disapeared. A basic menu lunch for a family of five (rice, lentils, chicken, beaf or fish) would cost approximately $7,50, thus $1,50 per person.

Our plan is to establish a dining area in CAS to provide lunch to 150 to 200 people from Monday through Friday.

How to help:

– Funds or materials to build the facility
– Funds to buy meals for a certain period of time


*  Living conditions in the shelters are very precarious. The environment is really contaminated by the debris of the buildings that have been destroyed, all of this originates infections, skin and eye problems, respiratory diseases, etc.

·         People that have chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems, do not have the resources to get their medicines under these critical economic circumstances.

How to help:

– Funds to buy medicine locally
– Donation of medicine


Replacement of houses to be built either on lots of land provided by public institutions or acquired through arrangements done by church members. Some people lost their homes, but they still own a lot of land. Basic homes can be built for $1500/$2000. Blocks and cement basic houses would cost around $6000,00.

How to help:

– Donation of material or funds


Micro loans from five hundred to five thousand dollars to help people who have lost their small businesses or their jobs.

This would also be channeled through agreements with private micro loans banks to administer these funds at a very small fee and with a small interest to maintain capital value.


Psychologists, general medical practicioners, nurses, construction workers, small business experts, general volunteers for collection of donations, cooking assistants, etc.


·         The target population to be assisted: Portoviejo, Manta, Bahía, San Vicente, Canoa, Pedernales, San Isidro, El Carmen.  Our church has congregations in all of these locations and can coordinate things through the leaders, pastors and congregation members in that areas.

There are many large organizations trying to help, and although we recognize the need for such an assistance, if you would like to contribute in a very specific way, you can monitor and have the opportunity to evaluate and even get in contact with the people you are helping, we strongly encourage you to channel your help through the Alliance Metropolitan Temple, which administration is subject to national organization audit.

Please feel free to chose any way you think you can help and let us know. In case you consider a donation to CAS for any of the projects we are implementing, you can transfer the funds to the following bank account:

CHECKING ACCOUNT #: 3498815704
ADDRESS: Calles: Fausto Vélez y Miguel H. Alcívar.

Thank you for your concern, your prayers and help.

Sincerely,  Floridala Zambrano.


Floridalva Zambrano