For over a decade, Ministry Ideaz has offered accessories that complement the worship and preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ministry Ideaz is owned and operated primarily out of Quito, Ecuador, very close to the region that was hit by a large earthquake in April of 2016. The area is slowly recovering in the face of this devastating challenge.
Response from nearby aid organizations was quick following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Groups including Jehovah’s Witnesses sent trucks carrying food, water, and other supplies. They also established relief centers. Residents and aid workers combed through rubble to find people who were trapped by debris. Local military personnel directed traffic to ensure emergency services could get where they needed to go. In all, over 600 people died and thousands were injured.
The effort to house the approximately 28,000 individuals who lost their homes continues. Along with a loan from the World Bank and the IDB for over $600 million, the Ecuadorian government has approximately $2 billion on hand for rebuilding infrastructure and completing other important recovery projects. Officials estimate the total bill will be close to $3 billion. To fill the relief fund, the government issued a special sales tax and made other emergency provisions.
Since few of the country’s main tourist destinations were damaged, Ecuador’s tourism industry saw very little impact. That means nearly a billion dollars of annual income remained uninterrupted. One industry professional noted that a good way to help the local economies is for foreigners to continue traveling to the country and maybe even incorporate some volunteer work into their vacations.