King’s Lynn gap-year student helps bring aid to those living in devastating conditions after the Ecuador earthquake

Aid effort after Ecuador earthquake

Aid effort after Ecuador earthquake - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk student on a gap year break in Ecuador has described how she has interrupted her travels to get involved in the relief effort in the aftermath of the country's devastating earthquake.

Aid effort after Ecuador earthquake

Aid effort after Ecuador earthquake - Credit: Archant

Lydia Davison, from King's Lynn, was in the country when the earthquake struck last month. Since then, she cancelled planned trips to Peru and Argentina, to volunteer with the aid operation.

The 19-year-old initially worked with the fire service, taking water to firemen working to remove people from collapsed buildings.

She has also made food bags, using supplies from lesser-hit areas, and helped deliver around 15,000 bottles of water. She and others have also helped supply a nearby hospital which was badly damaged and where staff are forced to treat patients outside.

The gap-year student, who is set to study mathematics at Northumbria University this September, is now calling for help from friends, family and members of the public back at home in East Anglia, to help by raising money for the aid effort.

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Miss Davison, whose brother is married to an Ecuadorian woman, was in a restaurant on the beach in the city of Manta, at around 7pm when she began to feel a small tremor, which grew bigger and bigger. The quake was centred on the coast.

'The only way I could describe it is in a funhouse when the floor moves side to side. All the lights went out and everyone started screaming and trying to run onto the beach to get away from the buildings but you could hardly see in front of you because of the movement.

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'It was like something from a movie. Houses were in the middle of the street, everyone was outside just panicking. The following day we went to look around to see if we could help and in the worst hit area, it was destroyed. A friend of ours completely lost his house and all of his possessions.'

Miss Davison, who attended King Edward VII Academy, in Lynn, said: 'I couldn't ever look at my life the same again. Even now when I've got a minute to relax. I've seen firsthand what real sadness, hunger and complete devastation looks like.'

She added the 'sheer desperation' of people without food was among the most heartbreaking sights, as well as seeing newborns, children and their mothers with nowhere to live.

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