SHELL, Ecuador — April 17, 2016 — Alas de Socorro del Ecuador (ADSE), the MAF affiliate organization based in Shell, Ecuador, is assessing needs and ready to respond following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred Saturday, April 16, on Ecuador’s coast.
On Sunday, an ADSE medevac flight carried two children to medical care. According to David Montero, director of ADSE, “The health minister of Ecuador asked ADSE to make a flight from Manta to Quito to evacuate two children with cranio encephalic trauma.”
Early news reports say more than 200 people have died so far following the quake. On the western side of the country, many buildings and roads have collapsed. The town of Manta was very hard-hit and its air traffic tower collapsed in the quake. Quito was without power or phone service for several hours, but those services have been restored.
Dan Whitehead, pilot with ADSE, said Sunday, “The hardest hit town was Perdenales and we have heard from a reliable source that they fear more than 1,000 have died there. The communications with the small towns along the coast are patchy so we don’t yet know all that has happened.”
It is not yet known if there will be much need for ADSE’s services, as the areas most affected are not isolated, with transportation and other infrastructure. ADSE and MAF are assessing needs and will remain on standby, ready to respond if they can help.
Mission Aviation Fellowship began working in Ecuador in 1948, serving isolated mountain and jungle areas. The operation began transitioning to an Ecuadorian entity in 1986, and came under full Ecuadorian management in 2009. The two organizations maintain a close working relationship. ADSE has 20 staff and five aircraft. Shell, where ADSE is based, is some 200 miles from the epicenter of this earthquake.