A Catholic nun from Derry, Northern Ireland has been killed following the Ecuador earthquake – which has now claimed the lives of at least 413 people people. More than 2,000 were also injured in the 7.8 magnitude quake which struck 17 miles (27km) southeast of Muisne, a sparsely populated area of fishing ports on 16 April.
The quake destroyed buildings and roads and cut power along large swathes of the Pacific coastline. Rescuers are still hunting for survivors amongst the debris, as victims prepare for another night outside over fears of aftershocks, of which there have been dozens.
In cities and towns along the coast, officials have arrested dozens for looting where thieves stole clothes and shoes from the scattered debris. In Pedernales, gunmen robbed two trucks carrying water, clothes and other basics.
A moved Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa visited the disaster-hit city of Portoviejo on 18 April where he announced the latest death toll and said reconstructing parts of the Andean nation will cost billions.
Amongst the dead is a Catholic nun from Derry in Northern Ireland who had starred in the 2002 film Bloody Sunday, based on the Belfast massacre, alongside James Nesbitt. Sister Clare Theresa Crockett only joined the religious order after going on a free trip to Spain – not realising the trip was a pilgrimage.
The reformed 33-year-old had previously told of a wild lifestyle in her teens, partying, drinking and smoking regularly around the time she had a small part in Paul Greengrass' critically-acclaimed movie. She had previously played parts in theatre productions in Derry (Londonderry) .
She said in her personal testimony: "I liked to party a lot. My weekends, since I was sixteen/seventeen, consisted in getting drunk with my friends. I wasted all my money on alcohol and cigarettes. One day one of my friends called me. "Clare", she said, "do you want to go on a free trip to Spain?" Free trip to Spain, I thought, ten days of partying in sunny Spain – of course I wanted to go."
Crockett was based at a school in Playa Prieta teaching children how to play the guitar when the quake struck. She has worked for the Catholic Home of the Mother Order, based in Cantabria in northern Spain, for the last 15 years, joining when she was just 18.
She added: "I went (to Cantabria) and despite the very superficial attitude that I had during the pilgrimage, Our Lord spoke very clearly to me. He wanted me to live like the sisters in poverty, chastity, and obedience."
In a statement confirming her death, Crockett's family said: "On Sunday 17 April, we lost our daughter, sister and aunt Sister Clare Theresa Crockett as a result of the earthquake in Ecuador. She was situated in a school in Playa Prieta with the Home of the Mother Order."
The last huge earthquake to strike the nation was in 1979, when at least 600 people died and 20,000 were injured in a magnitude 7.7 quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
went and despite the very superficial attitude that I had during the pilgrimage, Our Lord spoke very clearly to me. He wanted me to live like the sisters inpoverty, chastity, and obedience.