(Vatican Radio) Catholic Relief Services (CRS) says it’s a now desperate race against time to find survivors from the powerful earthquake in Ecuador that hit some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the nation. Tom Hollywood is CRS’s zonal representative for Latin America and is currently in Ecuador. He spoke to Susy Hodges about the massive scope of this tragedy.
“Poorest and most vulnerable”
As the death toll from Ecuador’s earthquake continued to climb, Hollywood described the quake as “massive and devastating” in its impact. He pointed out that the areas that had been hit hardest by this disaster were “some of the poorest, some of the most vulnerable” in Ecuador.
“These were populations already struggling and suffering from extreme poverty,” he explained.
Saying time is essential, Hollywood agreed that it's now a desperate race against time to find survivors who are still trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Asked about the most urgent needs for survivors, the CRS representative said temporary shelter was a key concern with “thousands of people having to sleep out in the open.” A supply of clean water and food were the other main needs, he said, especially as many of the families in the worst-hit areas were already “struggling to put food on the table.”
Hollywood said a number of remote rural areas have not yet been reached by rescue workers and CRS was sending out teams to assess the extent of the damage and the population’s needs in these remote areas where aid has not arrived.