Colombia, along with other regional partner nations, provided quick and effective aid immediately after a deadly earthquake struck Ecuador in mid April.
On April 25th, Ecuadorean Navy Vice Admiral Osvaldo Zambrano Cueva, Chief of the Joint Staff of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces, thanked his Colombian counterpart, General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán, for the humanitarian aid and support the Colombian Armed Forces provided Ecuador after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Ecuador on April 16th .
See copy of letter below:
Metropolitan District of Quito, April 25, 2016
General JUAN PABLO RODRÍGUEZ BARRAGÁN
Commander General of the Colombian Armed Forces
Dear General Rodríguez:
After the terrible earthquake that affected all of ECUADOR, but especially the provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí, and Guayas, this past April 16, 2016, and the extreme loss of human life and material damages this tragedy caused, which have troubled the hearts of the Ecuadorean people and plunged them into national mourning, the unforgettable aid and support from the international community, above all from our sister nations who have our eternal gratitude, have been critical in this painful time of crisis.
In this situation, the supremely generous contingent sent by the Colombian nation and its honorable people – the rescue personnel and 31 tons of humanitarian aid – have shown the world your humanity and the highest expression of solidarity and brotherhood; therefore in particular the Ecuadorean Armed Forces, which I have the honor to command, praise and express our most profound recognition and gratitude for this gesture of good will. Ecuador, with the blessings of the Almighty, resilience, and a proactive attitude, will rise once again from this terrible blow struck by nature.
Please allow me this opportunity to reiterate to you, the Commander General of the Armed Forces of Colombia, my personal respect and that of my institution for you.
OSVALDO ZAMBRANO CUEVA
CHIEF OF THE JOINT STAFF, ECUADOREAN ARMED FORCES
For his part, General Rodríguez Barragán said, “The aid we provided to our Ecuadorean brothers does not end here. Just today [May 11th], we have sent another ship with humanitarian aid. We will continue to help as long as we are able to.”
Soon after the earthquake, Colombia mobilized a coordinated effort to support its sister nation and neighbor, as detailed in the press release from the Colombian Armed Forces below:
Ecuador recognizes the significant humanitarian efforts made by the Armed Forces of Colombia
In a joint, interagency effort coordinated among the Armed Forces, the National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD), the Fire Department, and the Ministry of Foreign Relations, an assistance plan was put into action for our sister nation, the Republic of Ecuador, after the April 16th earthquake.
The Headquarters Command of the Colombian Armed Forces ordered the disbursement of 93 tons of humanitarian aid, 14 tons of food supplies, 25 tons of other types of aid (toiletry and kitchen kits), as well as 130,000 gallons of potable water, in addition to 2,000 tarps, a team of 58 intermediate rescue specialists, and two search and rescue dogs, plus a ship to bring water from the Pacific coast of Colombia.
In addition, the National Navy deployed the ship ARC Golfo de Tribugá to transport nearly 130,000 gallons of potable water, seven tons of food supplies, and 2.5 tons of toiletries, clothes and medication.
The National Army in turn provided 25 tons of humanitarian aid, and 2,000 tarps to protect the victims.
The Colombian Air Force deployed a Boeing 727 airplane to transport nearly 86 tons of humanitarian aid, seven tons of food supplies, personnel from the National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD), along with search and rescue equipment, satellite communications equipment, and 2,000 tarps donated by the National Army that can shelter four persons each, in addition to other aid delivered to assist the victims of this natural disaster.
The aid transported by the Armed Forces to the neighboring country was also provided to Colombian families in Ecuador. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Office of the Registrar, and the Colombian Air Force were able to repatriate 333 Colombian nationals who were provided transportation to 15 departments in Colombia. They were also able to repatriate five bodies of the 11 Colombians who perished in the earthquake.
The total of 528 persons transported by the FAC, including repatriated persons, rescue workers, physicians, firefighters, diplomats, registry officials, and service members in the Colombian Armed Forces, will continue to provide all necessary international cooperation whenever sister nations are in need of Colombia’s support and solidarity in the event of a tragedy or natural disaster.
“We are held in the hearts of the Colombian people, and there we shall remain.”