Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed a grant of $10,000 from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to support the work of Heifer International in Ecuador following a massive earthquake last weekend.
The weekend’s earthquake was Ecuador’s largest since 1979, and claimed the lives of at least 577 people and injured more than 2,500. Last week Japan also was hit by two large earthquakes. Because aid agencies at work in Japan still have funding available from previous years’ giving toward earthquake relief, Brethren Disaster Ministries does not plan to allocate a grant for Japan at this time.
A prayer request from the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service office asked for prayer for both countries, “for comfort for those who mourn, healing for those injured, and strength for those whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed.”
Aid for Ecuador
The focus of the Brethren Disaster Ministries response in Ecuador will be to support the work of Heifer and the ACT Alliance. Heifer International has a number of partners in Ecuador, including a program in Muisne, about 16 miles from the earthquake epicenter. In this area, Heifer has worked with farmers to restore the mangroves and preserve local sustainable aquaculture (fishing) practices.
On April 16, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred centered approximately 17 miles from the towns of Muisne and Pedernales, in a sparsely populated part of Ecuador. Widespread damage hit homes, businesses, and infrastructure, and was seen in more than a 200-mile radius of the epicenter.
Heifer International has been working in Ecuador since 1954 and has projects in the area most impacted by the earthquake. Heifer partners, farmers, and families in the communities of Muisne, Manabi, Calceta, and Fortaleza del Valle have sustained significant damage. Immediate needs include shelter, food, and water. Longer term needs will include home reconstruction, rebuilding irrigation systems, crop processing units, and safe structures to preserve crops and protect livelihoods.
This initial grant will help Heifer Ecuador assist 900 families in Fortaleza del Valle and 300 families in Muisne with emergency food, water, and shelter. Future grants will likely be larger and will support community-wide recovery work with Heifer International and the ACT Alliance response.
To contribute to the Emergency Disaster Fund grant go to www.brethren.org/edf .