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Students Create Relief Fund for Ecuador

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the coasts of Ecuador last Saturday, killing more than 600 people and injuring at least 12,000. The quake – the worst the region has seen in decades – caused devastation across the country, leaving much of Ecuador’s population without electricity, water, food, or shelter. On Thursday, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit, damaging roads and buildings further.

Here at Suffolk, a group of Ecuadorian students came together to start a movement in favor of those affected by the earthquake.

“We started off as a group of students from Ecuador seeking friendship and support abroad; then we developed into a very strong community,” said Diego Traversari, a representative from the group. “When we heard about the earthquake and understood the seriousness of it, we felt completely weak without knowing what to do from the distance.”

The distance was overcome, however, when the group built a website to collect donations for Metrofratenidad, a non-profit organization that provides free medical assistance to low-income patients in Ecuador. The organization is currently opening medical centers in Manabí, the province that was most affected by the earthquake. Metrofratenidad is also transporting people in critical condition to receive treatment in the capital, Quito.

This earthquake struck while the country was dealing with an economic crisis due to reduced oil revenues. The government has estimated that roughly $3 billion in damages was caused by this earthquake, creating a need for a temporary increase in taxes.

“Ecuador has always been strongly characterized for being a generous and united group of people. That is why we knew we could not keep our arms crossed,” said Traversari. “We knew we had to do something about it, and knew we had what it took to come up with an initiative that we hope will make a difference.”

All donations collected through the students’ website will be sent to Metrofraternidad to help Ecuadorians in need. Their site – Be Strong for Ecuador – can be viewed here, while donations can be made directly here.

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