Tuesday, May 17th saw King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain attend a memorial mass at the Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. The tribute was held for the 659 lives lost and the 4,600 injured by the earthquake in Ecuador that occurred on April 16th.
The mass brought together members of Spain’s three opposition parties, Madrid’s Mayor, Manuela Carmena, Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy and members of his cabinet; assorted diplomats and nearly 400 members of the Ecuadorian community now living in Spain also attended. They followed Miguel Calahorrano, Spain’s Ambassador to Ecuador from the central nave. However, it was Their Majesties who presided over the ceremony.
Carlos Osoro, Madrid’s Archbishop, celebrated the mass. He was accompanied by Papal Nuncio Renzo Fratini, Archbishop of the Military Juan del Rio and Ecuadorian priests. Their message to the congregation was one of ‘hope and love’. They urged them to remember that: “evil never has the last word.”
Before the close of the ceremony, invited Ambassador Calahorrano to speak. He thanked Their Majesties and the Rajoy administration for the care they displayed after the earthquake.
He also thanked the people of Spain for their, “enormous generosity and brotherhood of the Spanish people”. Spain provided material support to the victims. More than 100 emergency workers travelled to Ecuador and rescued over 100 people from the earthquake.
The recorded magnitude of last month’s earthquake was 7.8. Economic losses are estimated to be around $3 billion, which is approximately 3% of Ecuador’s GDP. 941 search and rescue specialists from around the world came together to work in the affected areas of Portoviejo, Manta, Pedernales and Jama. They’ve come from several countries including: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Slovakia, Spain, France, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, European Union (European Medical Core) and Venezuela. In addition, 609 of Ecuador’s finest, firefighters are working on the rescue efforts as well. 113 people were rescued alive.