Sebastian Vieira, contributing writer
This past week, Ecuador has seen one of the most severe and damaging earthquakes in the nation’s history. More that 550 people have died as a result of this earthquake. Additionally, hundreds have been injured and many more have lost their homes. This earthquake registered 7.8 on the Richter Scale, making it stronger that the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this whole ordeal is not the strength of the earthquake. The most impressive part is the strength, compassion, and unity that the Ecuadorian People have shown in the face of such adversity. Citizens of the country have risen to the challenge, spending countless hours volunteering to distribute relief supplies. Furthermore, communities have come together to pool clothing, water, food, and shelter to provide to those who lost their homes to the disaster.
Eventually, within 72 hours of the ordeal, international aid started to arrive. Countries such as Spain, Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia, and The Dominican Republic sent in specialized medical and military personnel to bolster the relief process. The United States and Russia followed these countries and provided relief assistance.
An unintended political effect of the earthquake involves the current Ecuadorian Government. The mobilization of relief efforts is independent of the government. The current national efforts are fueled primarily of non-governmental volunteers. The Ecuadorian Government has been pushed to the back seat. The inability of the Ecuadorian Government to take the lead in regard to relief efforts raises important questions regarding the government’s capacity and willingness to serve its people in times of difficulty.