When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador in late April, our Stop Hunger Now affiliate in Peru responded immediately by delivering more than 15,000 meals to families who lost their homes in Manta, Ecuador. As of May 3, the World Food Program estimates that 105,710 people in Ecuador have received emergency food assistance.
Stop Hunger Now Peru Executive Director Manny Espinoza said it was through a series of connections that his team in Peru was able to transport Stop Hunger Now food through customs and into the disaster-struck area so quickly after the earthquake. “Knowing that the meals had to arrive in Ecuador as soon as possible, they made providing aid a priority with a limited amount of time,” said Stop Hunger Now Peru Program Manager Erick Ayala. “Manta was in mourning surrounded by destruction with no electricity, and water.”
Manny shared this timeline of events to illustrate how his team was able to provide critical supplies to earthquake victims:
- After the earthquake struck Ecuador, Stop Hunger Now Peru acted immediately by meeting with the Ecuadorean embassy in Lima, Peru, to receive official approval to cross the border with relief aid.
- Erick loaded the organization’s truck to capacity with 15,000 meals.
- After a 36 hour journey, Erick arrived in Manta, Ecuador — a city of approximately 200,000 residents. After discussing Stop Hunger Now’s distribution strategy with the city’s mayor and local authorities, the team learned that more than 2,000 families in the city lost their homes in the earthquake. They decided to strategically target the meals to assist those families.
“Readily available life-changing aid, prompt response times, and local contacts to help develop strategic distribution plans, are critical to the success of disaster relief efforts,” explains Andrew Sullivan, International Operations Director for Stop Hunger Now. Sullivan says one of the unique advantages of having international affiliates like Stop Hunger Now Peru is that it provides Stop Hunger Now the opportunity to preposition food and supplies around the world and respond to crisis and disaster relief in real time.
Disaster response has always been a part of Stop Hunger Now’s mission, as we dedicate approximately 10 percent of our meals and other life-changing aid to provide relief in times of crisis. We are currently increasing the efficiency of our disaster relief efforts through pre-positioning, or stockpiling nonperishable supplies in strategic global locations. This eliminates the time needed to procure materials and ensures speedy delivery of goods–as in the case of the Ecuador earthquake.