Ecuadorans Grieve, in Need of Compassion Ministry
The death toll from Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake in northwest Ecuador has now surpassed 500, with more fatalities expected as rescue workers scramble to continue unearthing victims from collapsed buildings. More than 4,000 people have been injured.
Traveling to Pedernales, the coastal city most devastated by the quake, AGWM missionary associate Leah Diaz saw firsthand the human cost of this tragedy. Working with the Red Cross, Diaz was assigned as a companion to grieving families as they moved through city streets to identify the bodies of loved ones.
“Each family is required to bury their own after the bodies are claimed,” Diaz says. “The local government is donating caskets, but it is up to the family to take their loved ones and bury them.”
A Convoy of Hope response team is on the ground today and will distribute water filters, assess damage and help outline a plan for relief in impacted communities. A team from Centro Cristiano AG in the city of Cuenca is headed to the coast with much-needed food, water and clothing.
Although no deaths or injuries have been reported among AG churches, 50 church members in Manta who lost their homes have been sheltering in one building and are waiting for planned relief from other churches.
“Our hearts go out to families across Ecuador who have suffered terrible loss,” says Greg Mundis, AGWM executive director. “AGWM will be working with missionaries and church leaders on the ground and in partnership with Convoy of Hope to effectively utilize funds we have contributed to assist in the relief efforts.”
“In all we do, we want to clearly point people in the midst of grief to the comfort and hope found in Christ,” says Dave Ellis, AGWM Latin America Caribbean regional director.
Image: Associated Press