Guayaquil, Ecuador – HEART 9/11 was boots on the ground April 25th. Our assessment team consisted of New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Rescue, FEMA Task Force members and Laborers Local 79 – New York City Ecuadorian-American demolition experts.Thank you Luis Tavara from Hogar de Cristo for arranging transportation for the HEART 9/11 assessment team. The HEART 9/11 assessment team met with Steve Forneris from the architectural firm Perkins Eastman and connected with other companies/organizations to discuss the long-term rebuild plan for Ecuador.
Bahia, Ecuador – The HEART 9/11 assessment team traveled to Postoviedo to continue documenting structural damage in the community. The airport in Postoviedo is shut down and the runway is being used for housing several relief organizations.
Prior to deployment on Monday 4/25, HEART 9/11 contacted the US Embassy in Ecuador informing them of our travel plans and our mission objectives. When HEART 9/11 landed in Ecuador the USMC Embassy Security Detail informed us they had lost contact of a former marine who resides north of Manta in a small fishing village called San Clemente (7 hrs. from Quito) and a community of 30-40 American citizens. HEART 9/11 members arrived in the San Clemente area and broke away from the structural assessment work to head out and find the marine. After a two hour search incredibly the HEART 9/11 team found the Marine and American citizens Wednesday night. All is well. HEART 9/11 is proud that the US Embassy utilized our organization as a resource to locate those missing. This incident is reminiscent of our search for a lost mother of a US military veteran following the 2010 Haiti earthquake when once again HEART 9/11 found a needle in a hay stack in a typical chaotic environment.
The HEART 9/11 Assessment Team returned from Ecuador. The team made many introductions and connections that will position us to assist in the rebuild logistics as they develop. HEART 9/11 members met with Antonio Gomez General Manager, Carlos Perez VP, Merlyn Leal – IIASA CAT – to discuss a partnered rebuild strategy.