Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Jan 28th
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Home Global Activities America Ecuador Earthquake Recovery: Cash for Relief

Ecuador Earthquake Recovery: Cash for Relief

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In response to the 2016 Ecuador earthquake, Tzu Chi Foundation first began its assessment protocol, sending a needs assessment team to survey and evaluate damages, speak with local officials, communities affected, humanitarian actors, and coordinate future relief and recovery program projects. Through discussions with local government officials, Tzu Chi personnel found that the organization’s Cash for Relief program would benefit the affected communities most as the greatest needs, as stated by the local officials during the meetings, were economic insecurity and job loss caused by the earthquake.

Tzu Chi’s initial round of Cash for Relief program was implemented in two cities in the province of Manabi, the two cities being Porto Viejo and Manta. The program which started on May 6, a total of 121 individuals participated and volunteered in the program, engaging in various recovery activities such as street cleaning.

“We help and at the same time we get helped. We are able to make some money to pay our expenses, pay for our children's medicine, put food on our table, and everything” Luis Escobar, one of the Cash for Relief program participants.

The Cash for Relief program which consisted of mainly city cleanings continued for 2 more days, totaling three days. Although the first day saw only 121 volunteers, the second had a total of 688, and the third day increased to a total of 899 individuals. For three consecutive days, every participant received 15 USD a day to clean up their damaged communities.

“What has motivated people to come is to be able to get some resources for their basic needs. Our country has been having difficult time for awhile now, and we know that to be able to move on, we need a lot of assistance. That's why you see so many people here today” Fabricio Tituano, Cash­for­work program coordinator, City of Porto Viejo.

In areas such as Canoa, another location where Tzu Chi’s assessment team visited and will hold future program projects in, tourism is the main source of income, making up for 80% of Canoa’s economy, making it even more crucial for cleanings and infrastructure repair.

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