A Connecticut man, who has spent more than a dozen years in Ecuador, is working to raise money for a team of physicians after a massive earthquake over the weekend.
Homes and buildings were leveled along the pacific coast of Ecuador and the death toll continues to rise. As of Monday, there were at least 350 dead, thousands were injured and even more were left with nothing after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
“What concerns me, what people up here in the United States might not understand is that in these poverty-stricken areas, people don't have insurance,” Paul Martel, who has a foundation in Ecuador, said. “So, not only have they lost everything, but in cases where they've had landslides and what not, they've also lost their land."
The Ecuadorean consulate said there are about 40,000 Ecuadoreans living in Connecticut. Officials said most of the families who have reached out to them and are having trouble contacting relatives.
Martel said he is scrambling to do what he can to move resources quickly to Ecuador.
"It's such a poor country to begin with and the people are living on the edge to begin with," Martel said. "But that's why we're there."
Martel has spent several years in the country and operates a hospital about 200 miles from the affected area. He said his foundation, Fibuspam, is doing as much as possible as they are scrambling to get physicians from his clinic to the most devastated areas.
Martel said he has 20 to 30 physicians ready to go, but needs funds to get them to Ecuador.
We have tons of physicians that are ready to help their people," Martel said. "They just need the resources to help."
To learn more about Fibuspam, click here.
The consulate in New Haven will be discussing fund raising efforts at a meeting at 6 p.m.
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