Enlace Chicago wants to offer condolences to the Ecuadorian families who have lost their loved ones in the tragedy that struck the country on April 16th.
As an Ecuadorian whose family is still in the motherland, I struggled when I heard the news. Even though my family is safe, I was very sad to learn about my friends who lost their lives or their livelihoods in this national tragedy. The nation has been devastated by the earthquake, and my heart goes out to the families of the victims.
President Correa, who visited Chicago a few weeks ago, has expressed that the earthquake inflicted damages of 2-3 billion dollars. The 7.8 magnitude quake left a death toll of approximately 700 people, 40 are missing, 17,500 have been wounded, and over 29,000 people have been displaced. The town of Pedernales, identified as the epicenter, was severely hit by the tragedy that destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, and hotels, hindering the town’s economic recovery.
Our organization wants to join Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Mayor de Blasio and other leaders in asking President Barack Obama’s administration for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for undocumented Ecuadorian immigrants in the United States. Natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes are reasons the United States government could cite to grant the TPS to undocumented immigrants who were in the country at the time of the catastrophe. Ecuadorians cannot safely return home, and a compassionate and practical response would provide stability to many families.
As I reflect on this event, I am moved by the compassion, love and generosity manifested by my fellow Ecuadorians in and outside the country. The international community has poured considerable resources into crisis relief, and has made a commitment to the country’s recovery. I also want to thank the Little Village community residents, my friends, colleagues and partners who day after day ask me about my family and my country. One cannot ask for a more supportive network in times of crisis. ¡Gracias, de todo corazón!
Katya Nuques, Executive Director