A magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Ecuador over the weekend, killing more than 400 people and injuring more than 1,500, according to the Associated Press.
A Richmond student is currently studying abroad in Ecuador, and at least one student will be studying there this fall. Several other students are originally from Ecuador or have family still living in the country.
Sophomore Elaine Wissuchek will be studying abroad in the fall in Quito, Ecuador.
“I am not any more concerned about my safety in Ecuador after this event, because I am from California," Wissuchek said. "I am used to the idea of earthquakes and have already been in several, though not as severe as this one."
Junior Donald Edmonds is studying abroad this spring in the Galapagos Islands. Wissuchek said that she talked with Edmonds and that he wasn't affected by the earthquake.
"I touched base with [Edmonds] as soon as I got the news Saturday, and he responded a few hours later that he was well and unaffected," said Michelle Cox, director of study abroad.
Cox said that members of the Office of International Education spoke with all students who are studying abroad about safety issues, including earthquake preparation.
Junior Dani Sanchez was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, which is the third largest city in the country and located in the southern region. She currently lives in New York but still has family living in Ecuador and other parts of South America.
“My grandpa checked in as safe on Facebook, and that’s how I found out,” Sanchez said. “Then I realized what happened and sent them all a message on Whatsapp, and they said that everything is fine.”
Sanchez is going to Cuenca for an internship this summer with the Center for Interamerican Studies.
“There was a lot of movement in Cuenca, but mostly it was just a scare,” Sanchez said. “I’m not worried about this affecting me being there this summer.”
According to AP, the earthquake was the strongest to hit Ecuador since 1979. Victims are still being rescued from the rubble after being trapped for more than 32 hours.
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