Posted by: calloftheandes | April 26, 2016

Ecuador Mission Hospital Sends Second Medical Team to Help in Quake Zone

Amid frequent aftershocks of Ecuador’s recent 7.8 strength earthquake, a second medical team from Reach Beyond’s Quito-based mission hospital is now in the quake zone, set to continue work begun by an earlier team on Tuesday, April 19.
The first crew—including an orthopedic surgeon and an emergency physician—soon learned that quake victims were being transported to a nearby larger hospital in the city of Esmeraldas, although the specialists handled some cases at the Atacames hospital.
As surrounding towns in Esmeraldas province were less reached, their local host, Dr. Paola Pérez, reassigned the four; the second day saw them off went to Chamanga and Muisne, both hard-hit by the April 16 quake.

“I want to thank again Hospital Vozandes Quito [HVQ] and HCJB for sending its advance team of doctors,” wrote Pérez in a Facebook posting. “They never hesitated to give quality care and not within their specialty—an emergency room doctor who assisted a childbirth and an orthopedist who helped with abscesses.” She was referring to fellow Ecuadorians, Drs. Hugo Espejo and Jack Peña.
They, along with Drs. Steve Nelson and Joe Martin, traveled with police escort to towns with flattened homes and compromised healthcare systems. Once set up at small plastic tables in not-so-private consulting areas, they assisted individuals and families whose lives were changed in minutes by the quake.

Two medical teams plus five-person pastoral team.

Two medical teams plus five-person pastoral team.

Enthused and vibrant about the work in Muisne and Chamanga, Pérez lauded the doctors’ work, blending it with an admonition that “the work is great, every day there are more refugee centers, and potential risks of disease increase. But we are there to provide a helping hand.”
The medical team worked near the quake’s epicenter, some 15 miles south-southeast of Muisne and about 105 miles from Quito. In neighboring Manabí province, rescuers spent a critical 72 hours seeking life beneath collapsed buildings in cities such as Pedernales, Portoviejo, Cojímies and Manta before heavy equipment was used to remove the rubble.

Pastor David Jaramillo, whose ministry team accompanied the second group of physicians

Pastor David Jaramillo, whose ministry team accompanied the second group of physicians

Leaving Quito early Friday, April 22, Reach Beyond’s Hermann Schirmacher took with him Drs. Daniela Guevara and Trina Wisecup. Additionally, a Quito pastor, David Jaramillo, and four others accompanied the team. They ministered to children and young people in the area of devastation. Among these volunteers was Sofia Maldonado, a well-known program personality on Radio Station HCJB. Wisecup is a physician with I-TEC which operates a training center for indigenous peoples of Ecuador’s Amazon region.
“It is very important to us not just to deliver physical help or just healing for the body,” said Schirmacher. “We also take pastoral services with us. We cooperate with the church to have them involved in the effort as much as we can, and then serve out in the community.” He sees a contrast to his disaster response work in 2012 after flooding in Ecuadorian coastal provinces. “Before, we [Reach Beyond] were the hub of the disaster relief,” and he handled everything from coordinating logistics to handing out bags of staples (a dangerous job in desperate times—one that requires military assistance).
“This time, we do have a very good organization,” he said, mentioning that

Hermann Schirmacher with chlidren at San José de Chamanga

Hermann Schirmacher with children at San José de Chamanga

the Comité Cristiano de Emergencias de las Iglesias Evangélicas del Ecuador (Ecuador Christian Evangelical Churches Emergency Committee) “is running a Christian disaster relief or emergency group that is very well organized.” The group has aired messages on HCJB to solicit donations of non-perishables and supplies.
“Water is becoming an issue,” said Schirmacher, “even in the big cities around the disaster zone.” He’s impressed by efforts underway by the Ecuadorian government to meet people’s needs as they’ve endured several difficult days since the quake struck. A state of emergency remains in effect in six provinces of Ecuador’s western lowlands: Esmeraldas, Santo Domingo, Manabí, Guayas, Los Ríos, and Santa Elena.


  1. […] Beyond sent a few teams of physicians and other medical staff to the quake zone. They traveled from the ministry’s Hospital Vozandes in Quito to handle trauma cases and urgent needs, helping meet the immediate physical needs of the […]

  2. […] She was picked up some minutes later by an ambulance to take her to the next hospital to give her the proper medication she needed. The night was short and we did not even feel several aftershocks. […]

  3. […] surgeon at the Quito hospital, it became obvious that she needed surgery as her shoulder is broken. Our team stabilized her left arm to make sure she would not move it as much and now we are trying to find a […]

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