Request for aid to help Ecuador recover from the earthquake

RFR

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Please find below a special message from our friends at Red Financiera Rural (RFR) in Ecuador. They are requesting our aid in dealing with the destruction of the April 16th earthquake. While immediate needs are being met, RFR is looking to the future and how their member microfinance institutions can help their clients and communities come back stronger than ever. They are asking for your help in one of three ways:

  1. Donate to RFR’s efforts to help microentrepreneurs most affected by the earthquake or provide funds to help RFR establish a credit fund to help small businesses recover.
  2. Contribute second-tier, long-term credit with preferential interest rates.
  3. Offer your advice and experiences in dealing with disaster recovery.

Address your comments, questions, and offers of support to helpecuador@rfr.org.ec.


Dear Friends:

Cordial greetings from Rural Financial Network (RFR), an organization of 50 microfinance institutions with credit serving about 1,250,000 microentrepreneurs and small producers throughout Ecuador.

As you may know, an earthquake of 7.8 degrees on the Richter scale occurred on 16 April in Ecuador, with serious consequences on the west coast. The time has mobilized the whole country to assist with aid to cities and towns affected and have received specialized brigades and support of more than 10 countries to rescue survivors, assist the wounded, provide basic goods to the population and find the bodies.

At the time of writing this letter, more than 500 people are dead, about 3,000 injured and about 1,000 missing. Today, we can say there are enough resources to attend the current needs. We expect that all the solidarity received contribute to what is necessary now. Update of the disaster can be found on the website of Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat.

As a National Network that brings together microfinance institutions, we are concern about what is coming in the future. The affected areas have a high percentage of the population marginalized, most of the microentrepreneurs were developing activities related to tourism, trade, services and agriculture, so a drama will take time to recover. We can cite some facts about that:

a) The buildings and road system have been damaged between 70 to 90% in cities and villages near the epicenter, and between 40-60% in other populations. There are two provinces severely affected and other two with partial destruction. An estimated 20,000 destroyed buildings at the time.

b) Thousands of microentrepreneur beneficiaries of microcredit have suffered loss of their homes (many of them part of their economic activity), losing goods, machinery, supplies and inventories. Similarly, some markets, popular shopping centers and traders areas are destroyed or they have been looted, so microentrepreneurs merchandise are lost and possibility to continue their economic activities are not possible in the short term.

c) The affected areas have an adequate number of institutions that have been serving microentrepreneurs with credit and other complementary services. We can summarize that microfinance institutions RFR members have the following information:

RFR MEMBERS – IMPACT IN THE PROVINCES OF EARTHQUAKE
MICROFINANCE INSTITUITIONS # #
Microenterpreneurs
USD. Credit
portfolio
PROVINCE: MANABÍ
Local MFI 3 19,435 42,683,826
National MFI with branches 12 77,740 170,735,302
PROVINCE: ESMERALDAS
Local MFI 0 0
National MFI with branches 4 19,082 34,463,108
PROVINCE: GUAYAS
Local MFI 2 29,111 61,370,685
National MFI with branches 10 145,556 306,853,423
PROVINCE: SANTA ELENA
Local MFI 1 2,195 5,095,943
National MFI with branches 8 17,562 40,767,544
#
Microenterpreneurs
USD. Credit
portfolio
TOTAL SERIOUSLY AFFECTED AREAS 116,257 247,882,236
TOTAL LESS AFFECTED AREAS 194,424 170,735,302

d) Microfinance institutions, because of their high social commitment, are making the necessary efforts to help the affected population, responsible for coordinating aid and donations, assembling makeshift shelters, and collaborating in all that is required. However, the big question is how to recover the economy of the small business, refinance their loans, provide additional funds for recovery, more human and psychological assistance needed by the population to resume their activities. We are expecting that local financial institutions suffer withdrawal of their deposits because people need their money now, however there are local mechanism to give assistance of funds and provide temporary liquidity.

e) In addition, MFI are asking to second-tier financiers, national and international, which in turn can refinance loans granted to the institutions of the affected area.

f) The Government is managing aid funds to multilateral agencies and cooperation to gradually restore basic services, road system and begin a rebuilding process that will take several months.

g) Despite the previous point, we know from previous local experiences in smaller scale, and from International experiences shared by friends and networks from other countries that the microenterpreneur need an additional reactivation fund to resume their economic activities. This is the only way to support a true recover plan in order to let them be self-sustainable. Additionally, we should help to seek solutions to existing microcredits. Conditions in the area are not the best for this process, however there are opportunities that can be taken with proper collaboration, because reconstruction activities could be offer possibility for microentrepreneurs if they would have some resources.

h) Finally, the aid will be concentrated in urban areas and in several cases, it will not be directed equally to marginal and rural areas of high levels of poverty. These areas have collateral effects (they can not take its production by isolation, low demand for its products by the companies or businesses affected, are not part of the housing reconstruction programs, their children are relocated to more distant schools, etc.)

For all these reasons, we went to the RFR network of friends and microfinance worldwide to request your kind cooperation in any of the following areas:

1. Financial contributions as a donation to:

  1. Contribute to help microentrepreneurs most affected by the earthquake (total loss of housing, commercial premises, inventories, machinery, isolation, low demand for their products or services, poverty, disabilities, the elderly, single mothers with young children).
  2. Establishment of a credit fund for micro business recovery (provision of raw materials, provision of equipment, repair of damaged infrastructure, change in economic activity)For these donations, which will be channeled RFR members present in the area and other specialized institutions, we provide the bank account of RFR may receive donations of any amount both individuals or organizations:
Bank Name: BANCO PICHINCHA
Bank Address: AV. AMAZONAS 4560 Y PEREIRA
Bank Phone: (+593) 2 2980 980
City: QUITO
Country: ECUADOR
SWIFT Code: PICHECEQ
Beneficiary Name: RED FINANCIERA RURAL
Beneficiary Account number: 3084625404

2. Contributions second-tier credits with preferential interest rates and long-term:

  1. Compensate for the temporary withdrawal of deposits;
  2. Promote credit lines reactivating production medium and long term;These credits can be awarded directly to the microfinance institutions or by second tier through specialized entities (public or private), for which RFR can serve as a contact and reference.

3. Information and experiences:

  1. Able to make contingency plans for microfinance institutions to enable them to define actions and strategies to overcome this moment;
  2. Organizations that provide support in these processes, resources or property donations, volunteers, donors, consulting, information dissemination, campaign design collection of funds or donations, etc.

RFR is open to sign agreements or commitments resource management and coordinate the actions required to receive the aid and to issue performance reports, accountability and audits to be the case. All the help received will be managed as an international cooperation project, with whom we have a vast experience and excellent references. Finally, a report of the entire implementation of the aid received will be issued, even with the list of microentrepreneurs and beneficiaries, as well as testimonies. RFR’s commitment will also systematize the experience so that it can serve as a reference for similar cases.

Should concerns arise or comments regarding about this information, please send it an e-mail to helpecuador@rfr.org.ec

We thank them in advance for your willingness to help or to spread this letter to persons or institutions that can help.

Best regards,

Javier Vaca Fausto Jordán
Director Ejecutivo Presidente

More ways you can help with donations.

The Ecuadorian Government invites you to donate directly:

Ecuador earthquake

Find them on Facebook

And, from CNN:

The Ecuador Red Cross has teams on the ground providing first aid and searching for survivors.

UNICEF has delivered 20,000 water purification tables to the area worst affected by the quake. UNICEF is also assessing the needs of children in the earthquake zone.

World Vision has deployed an emergency response staff to assist with aid distributions and is setting up shelters.

Samaritan’s Purse personnel are on the ground to help coordinate with churches and community officials. The groups says field hospital and medical staff will be arriving later this week.

World Food Program is providing food assistance to more than 5,000 families affected by the earthquake.

Oxfam America is focusing on providing clean water, sanitation, and hygenic products.

Save the Children is delivering emergency shelter, food, generators, and hygiene kits. It’s also providing kits for children to return to school as soon as possible.

International Medical Corps is working with local medical professionals to deploy mobile medical teams and assist damaged hospitals.

Handicap International and their emergency specialists are on the ground in Ecuador trying to get to the affected areas. They are there to provide rehabilitation services and counseling for the injured and their families.

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