A big thank you to Randolph County residents who sent support for the Ecuadorian earthquake victims through SIFAT!
Last month this 7.8-scale quake destroyed thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, killed nearly 700, and left more than 6,000 people seriously injured. SIFAT staff members Tom Corson, Peggy Walker and Marie Lanier of Wedowee have just returned from the area of the tragedy. While in Ecuador for the recent three weeks, they personally experienced two more aftershocks of 6.8 intensity.
They attended a meeting at the American Embassy on May 17 for orientation from American officials as to how relief efforts could be coordinated and what the U.S. Embassy could do to assist agencies working in the relief efforts. SIFAT works through a network of Christian workers who have graduated from SIFAT's training programs. This graduate network provided a ready-made local group to work with in some of the most needy areas.
Using the donations from Randolph County residents and other churches and friends, SIFAT was able to provide water purifiers, which will clean 100-million gallons of water, and trained church and community leaders how to operate them. They have distributed food, basic medicines and tarps, as some are still living on the streets with no roof and the normal food supply for many of them was destroyed. No one in these marginalized communities had insurance.
In the entire area devastated by the earthquake, there are still 280,000 left homeless and more than 100,000 children out of school, traumatized by the earthquakes and living in tents or makeshift shelters. They have lost everything they have ever known and have little hope to rebuild their lives without help. SIFAT personnel who live in Ecuador will continue to assist them to get on their feet as more resources become available.
SIFAT has concentrated efforts in four communities where their graduates are working to help the victims re-build. In these four rural communities, SIFAT staffers and graduates have been able to make a difference in the lives of 460 children and hundreds of adults. Many people from Randolph County and other places contributed the support necessary.
Working together, with God's help, we can change some of the suffering in our world! SIFAT sends a big thank you to all who have backed this effort with prayer and with gifts.