April 17, 2016–Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief agency, announced today that is assessing needs in Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. The agency will focus on medical and educational recovery while providing aid to communities most in need in the aftermath of the deadly tremor.
The earthquake—the deadliest to hit Ecuador since 1987—struck the country’s northwestern coast on Saturday, causing widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. The earthquake also triggered landslides in several areas, and caused a tsunami alert for coastal communities. As of Sunday, the death toll had reached 238, and is expected to rise—with a reported 1,500 people injured. In rural areas of the county, where El Nino has already created challenging conditions, damaged communities are especially vulnerable. The full extent of the damage is not yet known. Early statements emerging from the country report that access to sanitary water is a priority concern at this time.
Operation USA is calling for donations to aid in recovery efforts and funding for grant distribution to local agencies in Ecuador. The NGO is also seeking corporate partners across the healthcare, transportation, water purification, shelter construction and power generation sectors to provide donated in-kind supplies of which there will be high need in areas affected by earthquake.
“Providing clean drinking water, shelter materials and medical supplies to Ecuador is urgent at this time,” said Richard Walden, CEO, Operation USA. “Donations are critical not only for the delivery of immediate relief, but also to ensure long-term recovery programs in the overlooked and under-served communities where it will be most needed.”
Operation USA previously worked in Ecuador following the major earthquake in 1987, and will call on long standing partnerships to facilitate the distribution of aid.
HOW TO HELP:
Donations to Operation USA will be allocated directly to relief and recovery efforts in Ecuador.
Donate online at give.opusa.org, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, PO BOX 36188, Los Angeles, CA 90036-0188. Donations can also be made via text message: text AID to 50555 to donate $10. Text donations are collected for the benefit of Operation USA by the mGive Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.mGive.org/t.
Corporate donations supporting recovery and rebuilding efforts — bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies, transportation and shipping services, shelter, power generation, water purification and medical supplies — are also being requested.
United Airlines miles can be donated to Operation USA through United Airlines Charity Miles program at united.com. (Scroll down the alphabetical list to find Operation USA, then simply enter the number of miles you wish to give.)
About OPERATION USA:
Founded in 1979, Operation USA supports health and education programs in order to help children and families recover and thrive in the wake of disasters, disease and endemic poverty. The Los Angeles based non-government organization offers material and financial assistance to community-based organizations that promote education, health services, sustainable development and capacity building on behalf of vulnerable people. Learn more at www.OpUSA.org.
Richard Walden is available as an expert source on disaster recovery and international relief aid.