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News > Latin America

Palestine Sends 19-Person Rescue Team to Ecuador, US Sends None

  • Rescuers work in amidst debris in Pedernales, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast.

    Rescuers work in amidst debris in Pedernales, after an earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 April 2016

Latin America sent three quarters of the world's rescuers to Ecuador, Europe the second-highest amount, and the United States zero.

Latin America far surpasses any region in sending humanitarian aid and rescue experts to Ecuador for earthquake relief, with Venezuela sending almost a third of all rescue specialists and Palestine sending 19—19 more than the United States.

Correa: South America Needs a Secretary of Natural Disasters

Palestine is the only country outside of Europe and Latin America that sent rescue experts to Ecuador, though Russia sent 30 tons of humanitarian aid, and China sent a satellite and a 911 system, mobile hospitals and US$100,000 to the Ecuadorean Red Cross.

Latin America sent a total of 702 rescuers, with even impoverished and violence-ridden Honduras sending a rescuer. Cuba sent the most after Ecuador’s neighboring countries and Mexico, followed by left-wing Bolivia.

Europe also sent almost 200 rescuers, some collectively with most of the rest from France and Spain.

Though U.S. President Barack Obama told Ecuador’s Rafael Correa that he would do whatever possible to help, the most up-to-date list from Tuesday night does not include rescuers from the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a disaster team of analysts from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were assisting "the Government of Ecuador by assessing earthquake damage, identifying priority humanitarian needs, and providing information and analysis of the situation on the ground." In addition, Kerry announced USAID would coordinate with the United Nations disaster team and send US$100,000 for “critical supplies.”

Correa said Tuesday that South America should have its own Secretary of Natural Disasters, since no one country could have enough resources possible to mobilize in such large-scale emergencies. Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in the continent, with a population barely above 16 million. It could only send 18 trained rescuers to affected areas, compared to Venezuela’s 212. Brazil, South America’s largest country, sent no rescue workers, and Argentina, the second largest, sent five.

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