New­found­lan­ders safe fol­low­ing earth­quake

Daugh­ter flies back to help fam­ily, as­sist re­lief ef­fort

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBINSON editor@cb­n­com­

Two cou­ples from the Trin­ity Bay area were va­ca­tion­ing in Ecuador when a mas­sive earth­quake hit the South Amer­i­can coun­try, killing hun­dreds and caus­ing dam­age es­ti­mated to ex­ceed $3 bil­lion. Joanne Chislett Erazo, a Heart’s Delight-Is­ling­ton na­tive now liv­ing in On­tario with her Ecuado­rian hus­band, soon af­ter got on a plane to make sure her par­ents and aunt and un­cle were OK.

Joanne Chislett Erazo re­turned home from Ecuador two weeks prior to re­ceiv­ing an un­ex­pected phone call on April 16 from her sis­ter. The news wasn’t good.

A mas­sive 7.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake had just struck the South Amer­i­can na­tion. As of Fri­day, BBC News was re­port­ing over 650 peo­ple were killed in the quake, with whole towns de­stroyed in some cases.

Erazo’s hus­band Wil­liam was orig­i­nally born in Ecuador and grew up in Canada. The cou­ple owned a condo in the coun­try where Joanne’s par­ents from Heart’s Delight-Is­ling­ton, Judy and Percy Chislett, were stay­ing. Her aunt and un­cle, Carolann and Clarence Pre-coor of Cavendish, were stay­ing in the same build­ing, which was sev­eral storeys high.

Joanne told The Com­pass she ini­tially wasn’t too wor­ried, but a quick look at her aunt’s Face­book page told another story. She saw pic­tures of items tossed off shelves onto the floor. The Pre-coors were stay­ing on the eighth floor and Joanne’s par­ents were five floors be­low them.

Joanne con­tact Carolann Pre-coor via on­line video and told her to get out of the build­ing im­me­di­ately. Asked if she knew where Judy and Percy were, Carolann started to cry and said she didn’t know — their door was left open when she checked ear­lier.

“My heart ac­tu­ally sank when I hit that red phone icon,” said Joanne, who grew up in Heart’s Delight-Is­ling­ton and now lives in Bar­rie, Ont.

She was wor­ried about her mother in par­tic­u­lar, know­ing she might have left her medicine while leav­ing the build­ing in a rush. Joanne couldn’t fig­ure out how to reach her par­ents, but was able to track down a neigh­bour in Ecuador, Tom Dav­i­son, who also hap­pened to be the build­ing’s ar­chi­tect.

“Joanne your par­ents and fam­ily are out­side with me they are fine,” he told her. “Your dad has gone to the un­der­ground park­ing garage to get your car and yes your mom’s medicine.”

Her fam­ily even­tu­ally drove inland from Manta to a place called Monti-cristi, where they spent the night sleep­ing in a car along with two strangers they picked up. The Chis-letts and Pre-coors sub­se­quently trav­elled to the home of Wil­liam Erazo’s fam­ily in the cap­i­tal city of Quito. Joanne quickly booked a flight and joined them there, tak­ing with her two suit­cases filled with med­i­cal sup­plies pro­vided by a non-profit group called Not Just Tourists.

The Chis-letts and Per-coors were sched­uled to fly back to New­found­land last Thurs­day, while Joanne’s re­turn to Canada won’t be un­til May 8.

In ad­di­tion to spend­ing some time with her fam­ily to help them re­lax, she’s also rais­ing funds to aid peo­ple in Manta im­pacted by the quake. She pur­chased baby for­mula and was at­tempt­ing to give a few doc­tors a ride to the com­mu­nity as of late last week. As of Fri­day, Joanne had raised al­most $6,000.


From the left are Percy and Judy Chislett of Heart’s Delight-Is­ling­ton with their daugh­ter Joanne Chislett Erazo in Ecuador. Joanne’s par­ents sur­vived a mas­sive earth­quake there while stay­ing in her condo last month.

Tom Dav­i­son, a neigh­bour of Joanne Chislett Erazo in Ecuador, helps dis­trib­ute food and sup­plies to dis­placed Ecuado­ri­ans.

Joanne Chislett Erazo and her hus­band Wil­liam Erazo used to own a condo in this prop­erty, Ed­i­fi­cio Nerea, which will be torn down as a re­sult of last month’s earth­quake. Dam­age to the build­ing where the cou­ple cur­rently own a condo was not as ex­ten­sive.

A view of the dam­age in­side Joanne Chislett Erazo’s condo in Ed­u­ador.

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