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2016 News Releases



MIT community galvanizes support for earthquake relief efforts

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Ecuador after the quake

Community members are working on fundraising efforts in the wake of recent quakes in Ecuador and Japan.

The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador on April 16 killed at least 600 people, injured at least 4,000, and left 21,000 others without food, water, shelter, proper sanitation, or adequate resources to rebuild. The MIT community has a long history of providing aid to people suffering from natural disasters, and has galvanized a new response to this latest crisis. A list of non-profit humanitarian aid agencies is listed below.

The original Ecuador quake has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks — including a 6.1-magnitude aftershock on April 20 — making search and rescue, clearing, and rebuilding, that much more difficult. The places that have been hit hardest are rural populations near the coast, in the provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas and in places such as Canoa, Bahia de Caraquez, Pedernales, Portoviejo, and Muisne.

“Many of these towns have only basic infrastructure where people usually make a living from tourism and fishing,” says Ecuadorian native and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering Otto X. Cordero. “Their lives have been devastated and turned upside down. … The situation [is] still very dire and will be for some time.”

The Ecuadorian student community from MIT and around Boston has created and is managing a crowdsourced fundraising effort with all proceeds going to the Ecuadorian Red Cross. The Ecuadorian Red Cross and Unicef also are taking donations directly via Spanish- and English-language websites, respectively.

The MIT community asks that donors also recognize and consider including support for victims of two smaller quakes that hit Japan earlier this month. The more engineering-advanced buildings built there helped lessen the extent and severity of loss, but displaced Japanese citizens still require global help and assistance. A number of charitable organizations, including the Japanese Red Cross Society, are accepting donations to aid in the country’s recovery.