Spanish version: Versión en español pueden leerla aquí
All Metropolitan Touring Operations Functional, Guests Safe
For the second time in 12 hours, the coastal area of Ecuador shook with a 6.8 magnitude tremor at 11:46 A.M. local time (16:46:44 UTC) that the USGS again categorizes as probably being a strong aftershock from the massive earthquake that occurred one month ago. The tremor, which registered at 31 km deep, could be felt throughout the country. There are no reports of victims and no tsunami warning is in effect.
As always our emergency committee activated immediately to check on passengers and employees. At this time, we can report that all passengers are fine and operations continue normally.
Hotels and other buildings in Guayaquil and Quito implemented precautionary evacuations but no major damage has been reported.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
May 18, 04:31 GMT-5
All Metropolitan Touring Operations Functional, Guests Safe
Our emergency committee swung into action within seconds and immediately checked on passengers and employees. At this time, we can report that all passengers are fine and operations continue normally.
No evacuations were necessary in Guayaquil or Galapagos and guests in Mashpi and Galapagos sleep calmly.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
April 28, 18:00 GMT-5
On April 21, 2016, I shared with you that in response to the tragedy on Ecuador’s coast, our group of companies was in the process of installing a 200 m2 humanitarian medical centre in Canoa. All of the companies of Grupo Futuro1 – specialists in health, insurance, tourism, medical technology, pharmacology and communications – have made significant financial contributions as well as offering their human inputs to the cause. Working together we have already achieved so much!
Today, I am proud and heartened to say that this dream has become a reality. The humanitarian medical centre, with modern laboratory equipment, has now been successfully implemented and staffed by 30 dedicated doctors and support personnel from our sister organization, Veris Medical Centres. These health professionals will be available 24/7 for the next 6 months and can attend up to 300 patients per day in various specialities, including orthopaedics, gynaecology, paediatrics, psychology, internal medicine and general medicine. Since Friday when we opened, until this morning, we have already attended 956 patients, performed 183 laboratory tests and provided 16.000 doses of medication. We even witnessed the joy of having our first healthy baby boy born on the 26th!
Although this has been a huge team effort, I would like to take a moment to specifically thank and congratulate Veris Medical Centers and its management team, which has led this project, as well as numerous companies2 that have offered laboratory inputs, medicine and communications systems that make the project function as best as possible in a very difficult environment. It is also crucial to pay homage to the talented and selfless staff of Veris that is working in constant round-the-clock shifts at the camp to make sure that there is always someone to care for an injured or ill earthquake survivor.
And of course, this is just the beginning.
Now that we are on the ground, as expected, we are quickly realizing there are so many more areas in which we can lend needed support. On the medical side, we will work first on helping patients injured in the earthquake and its aftershocks, but we will also work to mitigate latent infectious and epidemiological diseases that tend to flare up after catastrophes anywhere in the world. And beyond this, we have identified serious environmental health issues such as solid waste disposal in the aftermath of the earthquake and have started to review ways to create an effective solution for the problem.
In the days following the tragedy, so many of you contacted us and expressed your desire to help. We have waited to respond to you until we set up the required mechanisms to receive your generous offers of assistance in a way that would make a difference and provide clear accountability. Although the medical project is fully funded by our group of companies for the foreseeable future (6 months), the addition of external funds will allow us to expand both the scope and reach of the project in the medical and environmental health areas as well as the time frame in which we will be able to keep it running. This crisis has provoked the need for long-term support and we are so very grateful to all of you who have reached out to ask us how to help. If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to make it to:
WIRE TRANSFER INFORMATION
|BANK NAME:||WELLS FARGO BANK NA FKA|
|BANK ADDRESS:||WACHOVIA 11 PENN PAZA FLOOR 4/NEW YORK, USA|
|BENEFICIARY BANK/PAYING BANK:||BANCO PICHINCHA C.A.|
|NAME:||FUNDACION FUTURO QUITO|
|BANK NAME:||CITIBANK A.A|
|BANK ADDRESS:||111 WALL STREET, 6TH FLOOR, NEW YORK|
|BENEFICIARY BANK/PAYING BANK:||BANCO PICHINCHA C.C.|
|NAME:||FUNDACION FUTURO QUITO|
Please note that all donations to Fundación Futuro will be audited by Price Waterhouse Coopers and reports will be sent to you on a quarterly basis.
We cannot thank you enough for your phone calls, emails, texts and in general, your solidarity with our beautiful country. Please take a look at the following pictures so that you can see the operation running on the ground.
Paulina Burbano de Lara
2 Companies that have joined forces in solidarity with our project and the earthquake victims: Simed, La Santé and Level(3) Communications
April 22, 09:31 GTM-5
New 6.1 aftershock off the coast of Jama at 10:03 p.m. local time Thursday: Operations Not Affected
On Thursday evening at 10:03 local time, a new 6.1 magnitude aftershock with a depth of 10.00 km yet again shook the coast of Ecuador near Jama, according to the Ecuadorian Instituto Geofísico. At 10:20 p.m. local time sensors registered another 6.0 magnitude aftershock in the same area. The tremor was felt in the provinces of Manabi, Esmeraldas, Los Ríos and in the cities of Santo Domingo, Quito, and Guayaquil. The Institute reports that aftershocks may continue. All Metropolitan Touring operations are currenly running normally.
April 21, 20:30 GTM-5
Metropolitan Tourign express its solidarity with coastal earthquake victims and cotinues to support relief efforts
Paulina Burbano de Lara, Executive President of Metropolitan Touring, states:
“As an individual and as the head of a company that for over 60 years has developed, promoted and supported tourism in our beloved Ecuador, I am heart-broken to witness the destruction caused by this tragedy and at the same time, I am deeply moved to see the level of solidarity in our offices, our city, our country and the international tourism community. While each one of us working alone can contribute with our individual abilities, when we join forces and forge ahead together, we can achieve greater relief in a shorter time. It is for this reason that we have decided, at a corporate level, to unite with our family of leading companies in Ecuador and implement a joint solution that leverages our strengths, in coordination with government-led efforts.”
Our group of companies is at this moment beginning the installation of a mobile hospital/medical camp in Canoa, near the quake’s epicentre, to be staffed around the clock by more than 20 doctors and support employees from our sister company, Veris, a medical services provider. All of the companies of our group will join forces to provide funding for this project, which we intend to operate as long as necessary.
As we work with the community on the ground, we will be better able to define additional opportunities to effectively assist recovery and channel the resources so many of you have generously offered.
Although emergency efforts are crucial, we must keep in mind that the country’s reconstruction process is going to take many years and billions of dollars. So, the best thing you can do is to help us help ourselves. Please actively encourage your clients and friends to purchase our products (Ecuadorian bananas, shrimp, cacao/chocolate, roses, coffee, mangos, passion fruit, panama hats and others) and continue to promote this beautiful country as a top tourism destination now and in the future.
Metropolitan Touring again wants to express its condolences to those who have suffered losses and thank its extended community around the world and in Ecuador for all of the support offered.
Update on Metropolitan Touring Operations: All Fine
Image Source: The New York Times
As can be seen on the map, the area hardest hit by the earthquake is located on the Pacific Coast. Our highlands attractions (Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Avenue of the Volcanoes and Cuenca) were unaffected and our operations are operating normally. While Guayaquil suffered some damage its airport, hotels and tourism sites are functioning normally, with an occasional need for alternate routes based on temporary road closures.
Galapagos, located approximately 1000 km (600 mi) off the coast of Ecuador, has seen no impact from the event at all.
We thank you for your support and concern and will keep you updated regularly.
April 20, 10:00 GTM-5
Update on latest aftershock: Operations Normal
Today, April 20, 2016 at 3:33 a.m. local time (08:33:48.00 UTC) and again at 3:35 a.m. local time (08:35:48.00 UTC), aftershocks of 6.1 and 5.9 respectively occurred in the coastal region near Muisne according to the Instituto Geofísico del Ecuador (Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute). The aftershocks were felt in Pedernales, Bahía, Manta, Santo Domingo and to a much lesser degree, in Pichincha.
As has been the case since the first and largest earthquake, the location of the events has affected the coastal region terribly but has had no direct effect on our operations, which are centred in Galapagos and the highlands. All passengers are safe and operations continue normally.
We keep working as individuals and as a company to find the best ways to support our brothers and sisters at this tragic time and will keep you informed as more information on the situation becomes available.
April 18, 13:05 GTM-5
Earthquake Update: Normal Operations and Employee and Industry Involvement in Aid Actions
Approximately 40 hours have passed since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the shores of our beloved Ecuador, destroying entire coastal villages near the epicentre and causing serious damage to coastal road infrastructure as well as to buildings in cities such as Manta and Bahia.
Our immediate response was to ensure the safety of all of our guests, employees and their families and we are thankful to report that everyone is fine and that all of our operations have continued, with only slight changes in itineraries on certain tours in mainland Ecuador due to precautionary closings of sites by the authorities. Our main highlands tourism attractions (Quito, Mashpi, Otavalo, Cotopaxi and Cuenca) are basically unaffected. Guayaquil, in spite of being a coastal city, has suffered less than other areas and its airport, hotels and tourism sites are all functioning normally. There may be slight delays in transit as authorities review the entire road system for damage. Galapagos, located approximately 1000 km (600 mi) off the coast of Ecuador, has seen no impact from the event at all.
Our emergency committee has maintained constant monitoring of the situation and continues to do so. As a first step towards joining relief efforts, our human resources department has already initiated an internal campaign to collect vital supplies (canned food, water, blankets, and clothing) from employees. These supplies will be delivered to the appropriate authorities for distribution in areas of need. We are also organizing brigades so that those employees who wish to act as volunteers in the relief effort can join official activities, such as those currently underway in the city of Quito, in which donations are being classified and prepared for transport to affected areas.
The tourism industry, grouped through the Ministry of Tourism, has been following the situation closely. We would like to share with you the latest official update from the Ministry.
At Metropolitan Touring, we continue to monitor events and, in conjunction with authorities, to define the way in which our company can best assist our fellow citizens. We will contact you soon to let you know about our strategic response and how you can support it. For now, we want to thank everyone for reaching out to us and offering help.
April 18, 10:28 GTM-5
We greatly appreciate the outpouring of offers of support from our partners and clients. Metropolitan Touring and the entire holding group are currently analysing the most effective way to assist in this tragedy and will keep you posted as we further define our support mechanisms.
April 17, 09:40 GTM-5
All Metropolitan Touring Operations Functional, Guests Safe, Certain Itinerary Changes Due to Earthquake
The entire team at Metropolitan Touring wants first to express its solidarity with the people of Ecuador, especially in coastal areas such as Pedernales, Portoviejo and Manta that have suffered serious damage. We particularly lament the loss of life and send our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
As always, we place our guests’ safety first and we have worked around the clock to ensure that our operations can continue in the best terms possible considering the emergency. We have taken extra security precautions and are performing prior inspections of all visit sites to ensure our guests’ wellbeing. At this moment we can inform the following:
Quito: All guests are safe and calm and continue with their normal itineraries.
Land Routes in Continental Ecuador: Certain areas (Cotopaxi, train routes) are temporarily closed and we have reprogrammed visits to other areas without restrictions.
Guayaquil: All guests are safe.
Galapagos: All ships returned to normal operations late last night and visits to the islands continue as planned. The Finch Bay Eco Hotel is operating normally.
Mashpi: Routes to the lodge have reopened after closing for a few hours last night due to landslides. Government emergency personnel have cleared the roads and access is now normal, according to our hotel manager. Guests are entering and leaving the lodge according to scheduled itineraries.
Airports: Airports in Quito, Guayaquil and Baltra are operating normally.
The state of emergency declared last night by the President continues in effect and the government has centralized information on the earthquake and its aftermath in a central emergency committee. Updated official information in Spanish is available here.
We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
April 16, 21:40 GTM-5
All Operations Fine After 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Coast of Ecuador
The United States Geological Service reports that an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit the coast of Ecuador 27 km SSE of Muisne at 18:58 with six aftershocks ranging from 3.5-4.0. The earthquake registered at a depth of 20 km and led authorities to declare a tsunami alert, which was later rescinded.
All of our operations have reported in to our emergency committee, which was activated immediately. None of our operations have suffered any damage and all guests are safe. All employees and their families have also reported in as safe.
There have been no major problems in the city of Quito. Electricity was lost in a few sectors but has since been re-established.
In Galapagos, all of our ships have moved to high sea as a precaution but there have been no incidents reported. The Finch Bay Eco Hotel is taking precautionary measures but the situation in Puerto Ayora is normal and no evacuation has been required.
The Manta airport is closed but we have no guests in the area at this moment.
Some cities (Guayaquil, Manta) have been seriously affected and the government has implemented precautionary coastal evacuations in low lying areas. All government emergency and health personnel are on maximum alert and a state of emergency has been declared in numerous provinces.
We will keep you apprised as more information becomes available.
Your Galapagos Travel Expert Since 1969