ECUADOR NEEDS US
How the PURE community can help in the wake of last month’s earthquake
Ecuador is a country that’s close to PURE’s heart. Last year, Beyond Luxury Media CEO and Founder Serge Dive, PURE Event Manager Emma Squire, and Group Marketing Director Cj Holden travelled to Ecuador with Ecuador Tourism Board to explore this incredible country – it goes without saying that the beauty and warmth they were met with has stayed with us all.
On 16 April, the news of a catastrophic earthquake hitting Ecuador left our team in shock. While we were fortunate to be able to report that none of our suppliers, buyers, partners or indeed friends were directly harmed, the tragedy claimed the lives of hundreds who were less fortunate and has left thousands more in a state of utter turmoil.
With their Change Worlds mindset, PUREists aren’t the sort to stand by when people are in need. So we spoke with one of our own, Stephanie Bonham-Carter – who is helping to lead the Ecuador Recovery Fund – to find out how the PURE community can help get Ecuador back on its feet and change the lives of Ecuadorian people for the better.
Tell us a bit more about what you are seeing as a result of this catastrophic event?
The landscape, as you can well imagine, is devastating. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake was followed by a series of strong quakes and tremors that continue to this day. The death toll rose to almost 700, with tens of thousands injured and dozens still missing. A number of villages were inaccessible for several days. Nearly 7,000 buildings were destroyed and more than 26,000 people are currently living in shelters.
The emergency phase is giving way to a period of mourning, coupled with efforts to reconstruct; but as the rainy season gives way to tropical diseases, access to many villages remains difficult, and data gathering is still underway, the challenge is colossal.
What is the Ecuador Earthquake Fund trying to do to help these thousands of people?
The EERF was conceived in the aftermath of the earthquake. We are a group of Ecuadorian and international entrepreneurs – motivated community players who feel our efforts coupled with our skills can make a difference.
We are focusing on fundraising to achieve the following:
- Being realistic and efficient with the help we can provide – thus focusing in small communities where our effort can make a more significative impact (government assistance will naturally focus on larger towns)
- Enabling access to clean water, which is essential – our partner Waves for Water is assisting with hands-on guidance and has already begun a wide-ranging programme in various affected areas
- Providing imperative shelter – we are currently studying various housing options that can provide quick shelter, but that also allow ongoing development, so that people can take charge of their housing
- Sanitation – long-term solutions require more infrastructure, so we are studing ecological toilets that can be used temporarily
We are covering all necessary administrative costs, so all the funds raised can go directly to those in need.
How can PUREists get involved and help?
I invite all PUREists to encourage travel to Ecuador – despite the disaster that hit our coastal areas, the Andes, Amazon and the Galapagos are intact. For one thing, the country needs a healthy economic landscape to sustain the areas in need and tourism is paramount to economic recovery. But I also believe that experiential travellers should be exposed to moments that lay bare the reality of the less fortunate, which can be a soul-enriching opportunity as well as a moment that allows travellers to give back.
I also dare ask for donations – keeping in mind that $2,500 can provide a house, clean water and eco-sanitation to an entire family, allowing them to take the first steps towards recovery and reignite productivity.
“Ecuador was one of the most fascinating countries I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Its diverse and beautiful landscape and wildlife, along with the charming people, make Ecuador a truly special place. It’s important that travellers don’t become deterred from visiting Ecuador – they need us now more than ever.” – Emma Squire, PURE Event Manager
HELP CHANGE WORLDS NOW BY DONATING AT WWW.ECUADORRECOVERY.COM.