Ecuadorian Earthquake Relief: Social Media Trumps State Censorship

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Apr 19, 2016, 4:33 pm
ecuador earthquake
Citizens and NGO’s have turned to social media to provide relief to victims of the earthquake in Ecuador. (Twitter)

EspañolSocial media and websites have become a fundamental part of the relief effort in Ecuador after last Saturday’s devastating earthquake.

Citizens in Ecuador and in other countries have used Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to find help and provisions for the injured and those who have lost their homes.

Also, Skype announced that calls to Ecuadorian mobile and land lines would be free for several days.

Journalists and Ecuadorian citizens, meanwhile, have denounced that the government has stepped up media censorship in recent days to avoid independent coverage.

“The regime of terror and censorship imposed by [President] Correa in Ecuador prevents the media from reporting on the national tragedy caused by the earthquake.”

“It’s amazing to see through CNN what is happening in Ecuador due to the censorship of independent [outlets] and the information lockdown by state media.”

“The government censorship has reached such a degree that in order to get information about the earthquake in Ecuador we need to resort to foreign media.”

The Covers Duo, an Ecuadorian YouTuber couple, published a video requesting humanitarian aid for the earthquake’s victims. They also published a list of websites where concerned citizens can sign up to volunteer or make donations, and they linked to Google Person Finder, a tool that allows people to search for displaced persons in Ecuador.

Fundación Esperanza Canina, a non-profit organization that protects dogs, is receiving food and medicine donations for pets and animals that are astray after the earthquake. They also accept bank deposits and other resources from abroad.

Jorge Ulloa, a well-known Ecuadorian youtuber, posted a video on his channel EnchufeTV asking for aid for the earthquake’s victims.

Ayuda en Acción, a NGO active in over 20 countries, is receiving donations from anywhere in the world on its webpage, where they stat that the funds will be used to deliver basic food and hygiene kits.

Despite claims of government censorship on television, the Ministry of Health has created a Twitter hashtag (#EcuadorListoySolidario) through which it issues advice for dealing with the earthquake’s consequences. The ministry’s Facebook profile is also offering information about supply centers and telephone emergency lines.

The government is urging citizens to inform themselves through official Twitter accounts: @Ecu911 for emergencies, @Riesgos_Ec for risk assessment and @Seguridad_Ec for security issues.

“We are collecting donations for the victims of Ecuador’s earthquake, please share.”

The earthquake, which reached 7.8 on the Richter scale, took place at 18:58 on Saturday, April 16, with the epicenter hitting a coastal region.

According to the latest official figures, at least 413 people lost their lives and thousands were injured after the natural disaster, which also left billions of dollars worth of damage to the country’s infrastructure.

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Open Letter to Nicolás Maduro: You Will Step Down

By: Thabata Molina - Apr 19, 2016, 1:00 pm

EspañolMr. Nicolás Maduro: Rest assured that your time in office will be very short once the National Electoral Council president files the official form for recalling you. Unless Tibisay Lucena is abducted by aliens, you should consider it an inevitability. The opposition has asked for this four times, and do you think they want to ask a fifth time? We, as proud Venezuelans, want to work for the country’s reconstruction. Collecting the necessary signatures to establish a recall date will be simple: we just need an opportunity to get out of the endless lines Venezuelans must endure everyday for food, or maybe check out of a hospital where we are dying without proper care. But if I start to list the reasons why you should step down, we may need a second article, which I'm sure you know as well as any of us. You are a consequence of the ignorance embodied by Hugo Chávez — guilty of following the same game, of radicalizing misery. Read More: Nicolas Maduro: if you love Venezuela, please resign ... Read More: And after Maduro, what? You may ask for signatures, fingerprints, and even an affidavit if you wish to. We will do everything necessary to remove you from power. You have abused the Venezuelan traditional bonhomie. Then again, I'm still not even sure that you are Venezuelan. You show such little love for your country, which starves and suffers in the name of your miserable ideology. [adrotate group="7"] You may have your lackey Tibisay Lucena dominating the scene a little while longer. But unfortunately for you, we will use the rules of the game that you made against you. Delaying the recall will only force us to change the way recalls work. This country is too great for you, as is the title of "president." You may have the power, the weapons, and the anarchy you have propitiated. But for a long time now, you have not have the people. All you have are threats of rebellion against your regime from those sick of living in fear of getting killed, robbed or being kidnapped. See you at the polls, The People of Venezuela

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