By Natalie Ortiz
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Ecuador on April 16 claimed over 650 lives, according to Reuters, and a second earthquake hit the country only four days later. Though the devastation occurred thousands of miles away, some Texans are feeling the pain as well.
Jazmine Cuenca, who currently lives in Frisco, Texas, but is a native of Cuenca, Ecuador, was anguished to learn about the crisis in her home country.
“My family is okay, but it is hard to hear of tragedies like this so close to home,” Cuenca said. “One thing that worries me are the active volcanoes near Cuenca, which can be another big natural disaster that no one is prepared for.”
Ecuador President Rafael Correa said the country will have to increase taxes temporarily to rebuild the destroyed cities.
“I’m worried about how in need the country is going to be now, due to people not having homes and limited amounts of food,” Cuenca said.
Breedlove Foods, a humanitarian relief organization based in Lubbock, plans to send up to a million servings of food to the disaster area on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, where Saturday’s earthquake struck. The Ecuador Evangelical Christian and Missionary Alliance asked Breedlove Foods for donations last week.
Elbia Galo, the business development director of Breedlove Foods, said the food donation is arriving at the port of Guayaquil, and the Evangelical Alliance will distribute it.
The organization focuses on providing nutritious meals to poor and malnourished people in countries such as the Philippines and Nicaragua. Breedlove Foods manufactures and packages dehydrated food, but it does not donate animal protein.
“Right now, we are sending some food that has some protein,” Galo said. “It’s a lentil-based product. It’s easy for them to digest, and it’s easy for them to cook.”
The Evangelical Christian Missionary Alliance, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has 152 churches in Ecuador. Kassi Roedding, social media specialist and executive assistant for the Alliance’s Compassion and Mercy Associates, said help is on the way.
“We’ll be sending [the churches] donations, and they will be buying supplies to donate to the coastal areas,” Roedding said. “Right now, they’re asking for basic food, water, tents and mosquito nets.”
With the help of Ecuadorian students at Texas Tech, Breedlove Foods is expecting to export the products later on this week. Breedlove is accepting monetary donations through its website, at its office or over the phone.