What and how much has happened in three months?
Three months is the time that have passed since the first big earthquake hit the Southwest region of my homeland.
Since a month ago, ten more deaths have been confirmed related to the earthquake, and the same one is still missing. Number of confirmed damages to houses related to the earthquake has arisen to 157 thousands, 34 thousands of which have fully or majorly collapsed and deemed dangerous to live in. Approximately 4.6 thousands are still staying at emergency shelters, with another 5.3 thousands residing in garages, cars, and camping tents.
The original plan to build 3.6 thousand temporary homes by the end of this month has suffered setbacks due to numerous delays from record rainfall. Only about 40% of them are complete to date, and about half of the completed have residents settled in. Providing solid roofs over the heads of the affected is of utmost urgency, especially with extreme precipitation, hot and humid weather, and the typhoon season approaching soon.
The number of volunteers to assist in recovery projects has been on the decline since the big holiday weekend in early May. Tourism still has not regained strength. Many factories have yet to get back to full operation; some have decided to shut down. Fields and ranches are struggling to maintain production in any way they can. Chronic stress and fatigue in the affected, young and old, are starting to show as mental and physical conditions such as infantile regression and appetite loss.
Maybe a month ago, it seemed we have gotten through relatively well the acute phase of disaster rescue and response.
But maybe we have only now really begun to enter the long recovery phase, three months from its occurrence.
And maybe we need to accept the fact that we will not be seeing as much drastic progress or significant improvements going forward.
We tend to stop paying attention to things that do not keep making visible changes. I found myself already having difficulties gathering new information on the affected regions and people, only three months in. I must say it becomes harder to stay focused on them when I do not see or hear about them every day.
But I feel that now is the time to focus and attend more than ever.
Maybe we are not seeing changes because we have not changed the way we see things, from acute rescue and response to long recovery.
Maybe if we turn our eyes to where the affected really wants us to see, we will have better ideas on where help is needed the most and be able to make more noticeable changes.
And maybe that will draw more focus and attention, feeding back positively to the recovery cycle.
I hope to keep a watch out for these changes. And I hope to keep telling about them here, for your eyes also, so as to let you know that we are recovering, however excruciatingly slowly, thanks to the positive feedback we receive from your every view. I thank you for keeping my people in your thoughts through my posts.
And people of Ecuador, do let me know how you are doing, so we can feed back positively on each other’s recovery!