On the 16th of April 2016, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit the province of Manabì and the township of Portoviejo in Ecuador. An irretrievable loss of approximately 700 dead, 6274 injured and nearly 30 000 without housing. Many cities, costal villages and highways were badly damaged. Some sectors have even been completly destroyed, like Perdenales where 100% of housing, infrastructures and businesses were eradicated. Means of transport were greatly affected and local economy has been completly paralyzed. The costs of reconstruction following the disaster has been estimated to 3 billion.
YMCA Manabí has been an important actor in the emergency aid, working hand in hand with emergency committees of Portoviejo’s municipality, the region of Manabí and the national government. The collaboration project between Cyclo Nord-Sud and YMCA Manabí was born from the meeting of members of both organizations in Portoviejo 10 days following the earthquake. Given the magnitude of the situation, CNS and YMCA decided to join expertise and efforts in order to tackle the new mobility problem afflicting local populations.
YMCA Manabí is an organization fighting for social justice, access to education and human rights, prioritizing vulnerable groups such as women and children. It is an affiliate of ACJ Ecuador (founded in 1959, with offices in Quito) and has been in Portoviejo since 1998. ACJ is a voluntary movement that is part of the national YMCA movement. ACJ is also a member of the World Alliance of YMCAs, an international organization regrouping YMCAs from 123 countries. The alliance has an advisory status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.