April 2016 Ecuador
On April 16, 2016 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the coast of Ecuador, causing mass destruction across the region. More than 600 people lost their lives and thousands more were injured in the aftermath.
Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Latin America team already had a hearing mission planned to give hearing health care in Ecuador later in April, and rather than let the devastation of the earthquake scare them away from accomplishing the mission, they were instead inspired to do more.
The hearing mission team helped 92 families in a community from the Los Rios province of Ecuador who were affected by the earthquake and were yet to receive any outside support, several of whom completely lost their houses and were forced to live outside.
We were very humbled by hearing the patients’ recalling of the earthquake. They described the terrifying fear they felt as the very earth beneath their feet crumbled, the sadness they felt about losing many of their worldly possessions, and even a few sorrowfully recalled knowing people who lost their lives.
Yet despite having such terror recently take place in their lives, our team was very inspired by the upbeat nature of the patients. They showed tremendous gratitude for receiving the gift of hearing, and left the hearing mission with smiles on their faces.
To help beyond providing hearing care, the hearing mission team also provided people in the community with groceries, blankets and other provisions to help improve their living conditions.
We wish all the best to the people of Ecuador. We’ll continue to follow up with patients we fit with hearing devices with our ongoing services and empowerment tools. We hope all affected by this earthquake can, as best possible, move beyond this tragedy.
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