CWN.com - They call it "Mama Tungurahua." It's one of South America's most active volcanos, spewing ash and lava once again.
The latest eruptions in Ecuador have killed six people and over 1,500 animals, and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland. But in spite of the danger, many families refuse to abandon their fields and their livelihoods.
"We're not afraid. We're used to it now," said one resident.
Many homes are wood and plastic, and when the volcano erupts the families lose everything.
"The plastic was flying, ash was coming in and the house came down," Juan Chicaiza, a boy living in the area, said. "We didn't have anywhere to live and we came to make a house of plastic."
As the number of displaced people grows, Riobamba's Christian community has swung into action.
"I think it's also the Christian's mission to help the poor; to follow the footsteps of the Master and experience what he experienced, love what he loved, especially the children," said Pastor Silvia Torres of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Thanks to the group and many volunteers, missionaries, and local community leaders, 100 new shelters now provide safe refuge for displaced families.
"You don't have to belong to a particular political party or specific religion if the goal that unites us is serving the community," Riobamba councilman, Jorge Recalde, said.
Though these families no longer have their animals and fields, they feel safe.
"I don't have to hide anymore," one boy said. "The ashes don't come in anymore (and) I feel better."
While the eruptions continue, relief workers point out that many displaced families have lost their livelihoods, and depend on others for their daily needs.