In March, Ecuador was affected by a series of calamities. Over the past month, the country has seen significant rain and flooding in various regions. Flooding has caused considerable damage to infrastructure, homes, and transportation. In addition, the severe rains triggered landslides, resulting in fatalities and multiple road closures. Around 21 people died due to the heavy rainfall.
Until 10 March, cyclone YAKU caused severe rainfall in Milagro, Yaguachi, El Triunfo, Quevedo, Guayaquil and Chone. Following 50 illnesses, there were fears of a leptospirosis outbreak.
Since 18 March, the rainfall has been particularly intense in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Santo Domingo De Los Tsáchilas, Los Rios, Guayas and El Oro.
Before the country could recover from the floods, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck southern Ecuador and northern Peru on 18 March around 12:12 hours (local time). The epicentre was about 80 km south of Guayaquil and nearly 10 km from the city of Balao, Guayas. Fourteen were killed in the earthquake, and several others were injured.
On 21 March, a state of emergency was declared in 14 provinces in response to the damage caused by the disasters. The situation remains dire in many places, with officials attempting to assist those affected.
Due to continuous rainfall, around 21:00 hours (local time), a landslide was reported in Pueblo Viejo, Alausí, Chimborazo province, on 26 March. Close to 163 buildings and 500 people were affected. Fearing more landslides would occur, 600 homes were evacuated, and three temporary shelters were established for those affected. The Pan-American Highway was partially affected. As of 28 March, around 32 people were rescued, 11 were killed, and more than 60 were missing. Rescue operations are ongoing.
The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (INAMHI) predicts further heavy rain in the following days, which raises concerns about more flooding and landslides. It is urged that residents in high-risk areas must take precautions.
The efforts of the government’s emergency response system are underway to aid affected individuals. Yet, the continuous heavy rain and the risk of more flooding and landslides underline the importance of remaining cautious and prepared in the coming days.
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