The World Council of Credit Unions is working to bring payments systems online for rural credit unions affected by Saturday’s earthquake in Ecuador.
According to preliminary reports by World Council's Ecuadorian partner Coonecta, the magnitude 7.8 earthquake damaged 26 credit unions, affecting more than 252,000 members in the region.
Power outages, broken communication lines and damage to physical infrastructure is preventing credit union members from accessing their financial resources such as savings, remittances and payment systems.
"It's the worst tragedy in 60 years," Defense Minister Ricardo Patiño said. "We're facing the most difficult phase right now, which is rescuing victims and recovering bodies."
This is Ecuador's deadliest earthquake since 1987, and it is expected to "take years to recover," he said.
With support from CUNA Mutual Group, World Council will provide immediate relief to credit union staff and support credit union rebuilding efforts.
To support the rebuilding of Ecuadorian credit unions, donations via check, credit card or wire may be sent to Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Rd., Madison, WI 53705; or submitted online at www.woccu.org/give. Donations should be designated for Ecuador Earthquake Relief.