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We have the strength to go forward after the Ecuador earthquake

We have the strength to go forward after the Ecuador earthquake

“It took me 16 years to build my home, and now there is nothing left,” says Joffre, sadly. He is the father of several children who have grown up as Plan International sponsored children.

Following the 7.8 earthquake that hit a large part of Manabí province in Ecuador, Plan International staff have re-visited the affected communities. Even though our organisation was there the day after the quake, the communities asked us to go back so we could see how their houses had fared.

Plan International Ecuador's Adriana Vera tells us about meeting some of the families.

"We reached La Ciénaga early, a community where dozens of families have united to create a family shelter right next to the highway. As soon as you enter the shelter you can tell that everybody is disheartened about their homes and feeling completely powerless. With some of the shelter residents, you can see the pain and frustration in their eyes; others, more directly will tell you about their loss."

Joffre in his temporary shelter

Joffre, a humble maths teacher remembers how he saved every penny he had to pay for every brick of what would become his home. After years of sacrifice and hard work, in December, he opened the door to his new home, where he lived with his family until the earthquake hit.
 
When asked how he survived the earthquake, his eyes become red and he tries not to cry. He explains that he was in his house with his wife, their two children and two nephews.

“When we felt the earthquake we went outside immediately. We were outside but I tried to go back into the house to turn off the circuit breakers so there would not be any electrical issues” he says.

After getting his children to safety next to the road, he realised eight people were trapped in his brother´s house on the same block. Without thinking twice, he ran. With the help of a neighbour, he rescued all eight people from the house.

Collapsed house caused by earthquake in Manabi province

“I feel happy because even though I lost all the material things I had, I have the support of my family, my neighbours and friends, and that has kept me going.”

“I have a lot of wounds, but I cannot crumble, I will not let depression take over me. Inside I am destroyed, but I want to be strong for my family,” he adds.

“We have the strength to go forward, and the support Plan International is giving us is very important,” Joffre says. “It’s been very hard for all of the Plan International staff, as well as us. Everyone in the community hopes that Plan International keeps on helping us in these hard times, as they always have.”

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