Reflecting from Ecuador

Emma Butterfield

Emma is a member of Team Rubicon UK who deployed with the medical team on Operation Condor Flight in the wake of the 7.8 earthquake that struck the country's central coast on April 16.

Team Rubicon UK member Emma Butterfield provides a health assessment on a young girl in Bahia, Ecuador. Team Rubicon volunteers are currently conducting disaster and medical assessment in Ecuador after an earthquake recently caused devastation in the country.
Team Rubicon UK member Emma Butterfield provides a health assessment on a young girl in Bahia, Ecuador.

The devastation wrought by the earthquake is hard to comprehend: we have driven for hours, through towns, villages, hamlets, all full of collapsing buildings. The roads themselves are scarred with cracks where the earth has just opened up. The disaster has encompassed a huge area.

The people of Ecuador have welcomed us into their homes, have insisted on feeding us everywhere we go, have treated us as guests and friends. They have been incredibly welcoming and appreciative of our help. Their positive attitude, self-reliance and resilience has been an inspiration.

Team Rubicon UK member Emma Butterfield provides a health assessment on a young boy at a medical clinic at La Chorrera-Pedernales in Ecuador.
Emma Butterfield provides a health assessment on a young boy at a medical clinic at La Chorrera-Pedernales in Ecuador.

Ecuador is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been: green rolling hills, groves of passion fruit and jasmine, white beaches and an azure sea. Hiking up to some of the remote communities has been an absolute pleasure.

The strength that I see in Team Rubicon is that it brings together people from different backgrounds, with complementary skills and a common goal. I have learnt something from every member of the team. It has been illuminating and humbling.

A Team Rubicon medical team assess the injuries of an Ecuadorian man who has sustained heavy injuries recently in Bahia, Ecuador.
A Team Rubicon medical team assess the injuries of an Ecuadorian man who has sustained heavy injuries recently in Bahia, Ecuador.

Another strength of TR is its flexibility to adapt to the reality of the situation on the ground. Since arriving in Ecuador Team Rubicon has sought to reach areas which are inaccessible to most healthcare professionals due to their location or lack of resources. In those places where there were no earthquake casualties, TR has targeted the other health needs of the population by providing basic primary care at a time when they don’t have the time or the resources to go to their usual health centres.

Whilst on base, we have also helped sort donations, unload water, and have liaised extensively with local army and government officials.