Ecuador was struck by an earthquake with a momentary magnitude of 7.8 on April 16 2016, at a depth of 20.6 km; the epicentre was located in Muisne 170 km away from Quito on the Pacific coast.

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City of Portoviejo, picture taken by ortho-prosthetist technicians from the Fundación Hermano Miguel (FHM), Mr Robinson Bravo

The most affected cities were Pedernales, Portoviejo, Esmeraldas and Manta where many people are still recovering psychologically from the trauma they suffered.

This is the case of the family of one of the ortho-prosthetist technicians from the Fundación Hermano Miguel (FHM), Mr Robinson Bravo, who received a full scholarship from the SFD to take the distance- learning course to become an O&P technician, ISPO Cat II, at the University Don Bosco in El Salvador.

“Fortunately none of my relatives died, but now they are afraid of someone stealing the land where their house stood, that is why they have not left the city,”

said Robinson.

In May, the FHM led a medical brigade to assess needs in the most affected areas. They ascertained that orthopaedic devices and physical rehabilitation services were needed, not only for paraplegic patients, but also for patients who suffered other trauma due to the earthquake. In addition, most of the people who use orthopaedic devices lost their devices or aids during the earthquake, increasing the number of people who need help.

The FHM has already undertaken pre-prosthetic therapies for 20 patients and the SFD has donated the necessary components to start manufacturing the devices they need.

“With the support of the SFD and other organizations, we are able to take care of the earthquake victims free of charge. We know that the recovery process will be long and difficult, but at least we have started to respond to their needs,”

said Veronica Suarez, Director of FHM.

The SFD made a field visit after the earthquake, and offered FHM an additional donation of materials and components in order to meet the needs of the victims. The SFD is also waiting for an answer from the Ecuadorian MoH regarding an offer for additional training courses aimed at MoH staff.