Pinacle Rock on the Galapagos Island
Ecuador, Latin America: Week in Review

Ecuador Sends Aid To Galapagos After Islands Hit By Tsunami From Japan

March 15, 2011 By Staff

Pinacle Rock on the Galapagos Island

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The Ecuadoran government sent six tons of water and food to the Galapagos Islands, after the area was hit by a tsunami caused by the earthquake off Japan.

The aid was shipped on Monday to 260 families on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal after their fishing boats and livelihoods were destroyed by the tsunami.

Police initially reported no major damages on the islands, which lay 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.

Water from the tsunami came up to a third of a mile inland in the Galapagos, causing minor damage to homes and docks as well as merging a lagoon with the sea.

The islands are home to unique animal species that were the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution.

The massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck off the coast of Japan also forced many Latin American nations with coastlines on the Pacific ocean to close ports, oil pipelines, roads and schools.

Chile closed its northern ports of Iquique and Antofagasta, Mexico shut down three ports and Ecuador’s state oil company PetroEcuador suspended crude oil shipments.

On the Galapagos, tour operators Lindblad Expeditions, which keeps two ships in the islands year-round, ordered them to stay away from the coast with their guests aboard.

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Image: pdvos @ Flickr.

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Peter Vanags says:

Keep in mind that “6 tons of water and food” is less than a dozen pickup trucks filled with supplies. From what I gather, 20 families were affected. Not to diminish these people’s personal suffering, but the overall scope of damage in the Galapagos appears to be relatively minor. Hotels in Puerto Ayora that also were affected by the surge report they will be cleaned up and operational within a few days, if not sooner.

[…] Although initial reports claimed that there was minimal damage to the islands, they appear to have been one of the hardest-hit areas in Latin America. A tip sent in to Lorraine Caputo reports that many businesses in Puerto Ayora were flooded, including the artisan market, though most have reopened. More distressingly, a number of homes in the Barrio Punta Estrada neighborhood were damaged.  The Ecuadorian government is sending assistance to those impacted by the waves. […]

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