CHRISTIANS in Montecristi, Ecuador, have taken heart that a statue of the Virgin Mary in the Basilica de Monserrat was left undamaged by the recent earthquake that shook the country (News, 22 April).
One of the basilica’s priests, the Revd Ángel Toaquiza, told the New York Times: “She is the mother who has taken care of us through this earthquake. I think a sign of this is that she suffered no damage that day.”
The basilica is still too unstable for services to recommence there.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on 16 April, close to the town of Muisne. The tremors devastated large areas of western Ecuador: 655 people are known to have died, 48 are still missing, and many thousands were injured.
Rescue teams from 27 countries have been sent, and operations to search for survivors are ongoing. The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has said that rebuilding costs could reach $3 billion.