What I learned from the Ecuador earthquake

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Fall off the Map, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. I was in Quito during the 7.8 earthquake that struck near Pedernales, Ecuador on April, 16th 2016. Our family was lucky. We had moved out of the disaster zone 2 months before the quake hit. In the town of Canoa, where we had been living, 90% of the buildings were either collapsed, or so damaged that they needed to be torn down. Our old apartment building was standing, but precariously, ceilings and walls had collapsed. One week after after the disaster I went on an aid run to Canoa to deliver tents, tarps, mosquito netting and cooking supplies. It was an eye opening experience to see first hand what happens when everything falls apart.

    Canoa was cut off for 3 days. The dead remained under the rubble. Food and water quickly ran out. People began looting. Most of the survivors headed into the jungle out of fear both of aftershocks, but also of looters. As we prepared our aid run the advice we received from other aid groups was to travel in a convoy. Aid trucks were getting stopped and looted before they reached the worst hit areas. Ecuadorian's are a very generous compassionate people, so there was no shortage of other privately organized aid missions heading to the coast. Quickly, 2 vehicles became 6 as we teamed up for safety with other trucks loaded with water, mattresses, and food.

    On the way to Canoa we passed Pedernales, the town that was closest to the epicenter. The town was full of police and military. They were guarding the buildings that were still standing. The town was heavily damaged, but not close to the total destruction that happened in the smaller towns where building codes were not enforced. Soon we saw families camped by the road waving red flags, hoping to attract the attention and sympathy of the aid convoys. We could smell the dead in the tarp covered trucks heading the opposite direction. We drove over roads that had been ripped apart and quickly patched with sand.

    In Canoa we found a town destroyed. The police and military were camped out in the school doing little to help and living off the donated water and food. The looting continued unchecked. The aid was being delivered to the town, but most of the people were camping up in the hills too far away to receive it. The families that stayed in town got plenty of food and water, but were at risk of being robbed. The families in the hills would send people into town to try to get donations. Motorcycle clubs were the most useful in delivering aid over damaged roads to remote locations. Much of the aid that was delivered was useless. People needed shelter, water, gas stoves and fuel, food that could be stored, opened, and cooked easily, and underwear. They got lots of used clothing and toys. Mosquito bourn diseases were quickly becoming the second phase of the disaster.

    I set up a tent camp on my land in town with a kitchen, bathroom, and rainwater collection system, and then I got out of town and back to my family. What did I learn? Don't rely on government aid. Looting will happen. Have water, and water containers, and more water containers. You don't just need drinking water, but also cooking, bathing, dish washing. Water is everything. 99% of aid will not make it past the town center. Motorcycle clubs are angels on wheels.

    Some videos about the experience.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  2. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    A grim tale indeed, thanks for sharing. Glad your family is safe!
    Fall off the Map likes this.
  3. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Thank you for the information and reinforcing the thoughts I have on prepping. If things went bad in a modern nation, where aid is available from outside the stricken area and in a climate that is forgiving, it should remind us of what would happen in a large northern city in the USA in the winter and without aid available from outside the area. Kind of hard here to go to the jungle for safety from the bad element.
    Fall off the Map likes this.
  4. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    Just have to mow down the bad weeds!;)
  5. I'll take cold over dengue fever. Fighting off cold is easier than fighting off mosquitos.
    ditch witch likes this.
  6. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Depends on how cold. If its -20f and you have no way to heat your house you will die very quickly.
    Salted Weapon likes this.
  7. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

  8. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    I'm intrigued with what your doing, and envious!
    Ganado likes this.
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