Ecuador Earthquake Relief

$27,615 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 341 people in 37 months
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A devastating 7.8 Magnitude earthquake has struck Coastal Ecuador resulting in death and massive destruction. Among the most impacted towns is Canoa, Manabi  just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, leaving it 90% destroyed. Being a humble small town, with a population of approximately 5,000 people, we are finding that it is not receiving the much needed aid. Currently, the town has been destroyed, resulting in shortage of food, shelter, medical supplies, etc. We will coordinate and support local Canoa based organizations The James Dean Byrd foundation as well as the Franciscanas de Maria Auxiliadora and others in order to ensure that resources reach all those affected. 

Why are we doing this and who are we? 
We are a group of Expats, Americans and Ecuadorians whom have all lived in Canoa or are currently still living in Canoa. We are stopping everything in our lives and businesses to focus on this relief effort, because we have fallen in love with this charming surf town and all the amazing people who make it so special. This is a massive tragedy, the people of Canoa deserve and desperately need all the help we can muster. 

Our focus is to raise funds specifically for helping Canoa, as this small city was not only one of the most damaged it is also isolated and difficult to reach. We have chosen to self-organize our own efforts due to concerns with trust and inefficiencies present in the larger relief organizations. Additionally there is plenty of help for the larger cities but small towns like Canoa are being neglected. 

What are we doing with the money? 
100 percent of the funds raised here will be used for emergency relief and rebuilding efforts. Going directly to those most in need of aid. 

We are already purchasing, collecting donations and mobilizing supplies and volunteers in Quito and will dispatch the first relief team in the early morning as it is still dangerous to travel at night. Further we may need to hire security to get all the way to Canoa because the Police Escort that we will be traveling with tomorrow only goes half the distance to Canoa. 

How are we organizing and managing our efforts? 
Erik Taylor and Thatcher Michelsen co-founders of www.VivaVerde.ec an environmental sustainability company and www.Love.ec a telecomunications and eco-tourism company. Are donating their time and resources to help manage the funds, resources and volunteers. VivaVerde is licensed by the Ecuadorian government to provide drinking water in emergency relief capacity, as well as provide shelter and rebuilding efforts. 

You can find more information and updates about the earthquake here: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/18/world/americas/ecuador-earthquake-deaths.html 
http://www.ecuadornoticias.com/2016/04/habitantes-de-canoa-claman-ayuda-por.html 







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Thank you again for your contributions. We are so sorry for the lack of updates, we’ve been busy!

One week after the earthquake, Viva Action collaborated with Traveling Animal Doctors and individual volunteers to organize a supply trip out to Canoa, bringing a convoy of trained volunteers and supplies, including a truck full of thousands of dollars worth of immediately necessary aid; water, food, personal hygiene packs, generators, and dog and cat food. Once we arrived, we worked alongside Canoa Reviva, a local organization which was coordinating relief efforts, to determine how best to distribute the supplies and coordinate volunteer action.

Traveling Animal Doctors, an organization which has a long running history with Canoa, had returned to town to treat the evident number of veterinary cases. As their work would place them in the middle of the “campos” (places where people were gathering together and building small, temporary housing), they volunteered to work out the organization and distribution of the care packs at the same time. A shout out to Travelling Animal Doctors who spent weeks on the ground, treating a variety of veterinary cases and colloaborating closely with ourselves and Canoa Reviva to help out human population of the town as well. To learn more about them, please visit their website at;
www.travellinganimaldoctors.org
They have posted some amazing stories about their time in Canoa as well as the other projects they are apart of.

The immediate focus of Viva Action Network was to get water to the people of Canoa. In bringing a huge amount of bottled, safe drinking water, we were able to supply the town with a substantial amount of water for an immediate response. For a more consistent water supply, Viva Action Network also began the implementation of a water system from a well in Rio Canoa that will bring constant clean water down to the main road, accessible to all. Unfortunately, in the process of preparing the well for distribution, another devastating secondary wave of earthquakes has filled up the well with more sediment and we are currently in the process of cleaning and restoring it for drinking water.

In the meantime, we also worked in obtaining 300 palates, currently being used for flooring and item storage in the small, makeshift houses. But one thing we realize is that change is not about these smaller, more temporary solutions, there is a history of aid organizations who focus on the immediate need and leave when a temporary structure has been established. Viva Action Network’s focus is on creating and funding sustainable systems that will rebuild Canoa for the long term. We have been working to respond to immediate need so far, but now that those needs have been met, we are holding the rest of the funds until there is a clear pathway to start implementing long term, sustainable systems. Associated with Canoa Reviva, we will continue to be involved in the future planning of the town and will distribute the funds as needed.

We would like to say thank you to the work of other organizations devoting time and effort to the cause, such as Travelling Animal Doctors and Canoa Reviva, to individual volunteers who are there to support in any way they can, but most of all to you, our donors. Without your help and support, none of this would be possible.
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Mobile phone service is just now being restored in Canoa, so we are just beginning to get updates and photos. With 90% of the buildings in Canoa completely destroyed the residents have no choice but to erect temporary tent villages. It will take many years to fully rebuild Canoa but there is a major need now for more substantial temporary housing structures, and we are working to help with this. With the direct help of the military, our team has distributed food, water and supplies to hundreds of those most in need. There is currently temporary water filtration in place from other relief groups, but our concern is that after the temporary help leaves the people of Canoa will be left without safe drinking water supply. So our main goal, beyond helping with the construction of temporary housing, remains to get a more permanent drinking water filtration solution in place, Canoa already needed this before the earthquake and now it is imperative. We will continue to post updates and photos as things progress. Please help keep the donations coming in.
Handing out bags of food and supplies
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Our Second Convoy of supplies is successfully on the road headed to Canoa from Quito. The Convoy consists of a large box truck loaded with supplies 2 cars and a pickup truck. 17 people total including an armed guard for security. We will continue to post updates as we make progress. Next week we plan to bring heavy equipment and an industrial scale water filtration system.
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To clarify the use of these funds. I want to reiterate that we are using 100% of the money raised here to help the people of Canoa. The money is first being withdrawn to my (Thatcher Michelsen's) bank account in the United States and then wired to our Ecuadorian business bank account for VivaVerde, S.A. which is the organization leading the aid relief for these funds in Ecuador. That organization is lead by my best friend and business partner Erik Taylor. I had to clarify all that in order to allow the withdrawal of funds from gofundme. All efforts to this point have been funded by me and others contributing our own money directly. All use of funds will be tracked and documented with digital photos of the items, the receipts and the distribution efforts. We will share those photos here as much as possible. The people of Canoa need us, lets keep up the great work and raise more funds to help.
Thank You
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$27,615 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 341 people in 37 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created April 17, 2016
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