The desire to help others cannot be stopped by an earthquake

Published: 9 May 2016 14:02 CET

By Raquel Jiménez Santos

Ana Rocío Sendeño is a 28-year-old mother of two from the small village of Mantal on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. As a classroom assistant, she is used to helping others. On 16 April, 2016, her home was destroyed by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Ecuador that left hundreds dead and thousands more homeless. 

One result of the earthquake was that Ana Rocio went from a life of offering assistance to being in need of it. “I was about to go to bed when everything began to shake, I ran out of the house with my family,” she said.

“My home was damaged in the quak. And now with the heavy rain, it’s totally gone.”

Three  weeks after the devastating earthquake, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), along with the Ecuadorian Red Cross and other members of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, continue to mobilize resources globally and regionally to provide urgent aid to affected communities.

Thousands of people like Ana Rocío and her family remain without shelter. The IFRC’s Emergency Appeal will address home and shelter needs with activities over the next year to help affected communities recover.

Ana Rocío and her family will face many hardships over this time. “Unfortunately, it has been raining a lot and I don’t know how I am going to protect my family from that,” she said.

Even though she has her own family and future to worry about, Ana Rocío’s natural instinct to help others hasn’t faded.  After she safely settled her family, she joined the Ecuadorian Red Cross as a volunteer and began to help others.

“I could see that my people were suffering, and I did the best I could to help them with what little resources I had, but when these were exhausted, I could do no more,” she said. “But then I heard that the Red Cross could help, so I went to their office to offer my assistance as a volunteer.”

Ecuadorian Red Cross volunteers have played an invaluable role in supporting those affected by the country’s worst earthquake in over 40 years, assisting with the distribution of basic relief items, health and hygiene promotion, water and sanitation activities, and the construction of shelters.

“The Red Cross has helped the community in so many ways, and since I have become a volunteer I have learned so much,” she said.