Newfoundlanders safe following earthquake
Daughter flies back to help family, assist relief effort
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.