- Published on April 19, 2016
- Written by Laura Ann Sweitzer
All of us at TCHO have been heartbroken by the images and stories that are emerging from Ecuador in the wake of the earthquake that struck this past Saturday. According to the BBC, more than 400 people lost their lives and more than 2,500 were injured. The cost of rebuilding damaged areas will reportedly reach into the billions of dollars. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has described the quake as the biggest tragedy to hit the country in the past seven decades.
Ecuador’s chief cocoa-producing regions of Esmeraldas and Manabi were hardest hit. Countless cocoa farmers and their families were in harm’s way and are grappling with loss. TCHO has long term partnerships with Fortaleza del Valle Cooperative in Manabi and UOPROCAE Cooperative in Esmereldas. TCHO has built infrastructure, lead trainings and done business with these cooperatives and their farmer members for years. Fortunately, all of their farmer members survived the earthquake. Many of their members have lost their homes and the infrastructure at both cooperatives is severely damaged. With damaged processing facilities and the harvest season upon them, they run the risk of loosing the profits from their cacao this year-on top of all the immediate losses from the earthquake. Here are some images from Fortaleza del Valle before and after the earthquake:
We will continue to work with these cooperatives and help as we can as they support their farmer members and rebuild. In the meantime, two organizations providing immediate relief on the ground are Heifer Project Ecuador and the Red Cross Ecuador. Please donate if you are able. TCHO does not have a direct relationship with Heifer project or The Red Cross.