Structural collapses, landslides, flooding amid heavy rain in Guayaquil

Quito, Mar 23 (EFE).- Structural collapses, fallen trees, landslides and flooding are the result of the heavy rains reported since Thursday morning in the coastal city of Guayaquil in southwestern Ecuador.

Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri reported the damage, adding that the local Fire Department has deployed eight inflatable boats in spots where flooding has occurred.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso tasked the government of Guayas province, the capital of which is Guayaquil, to coordinate with all government levels to ensure the delivery of any and all aid needed to mitigate the impact of the flooding.

The city has activated the local Emergency Operations Committee (COE) to take care of emergencies due to climate change.

“We’re experiencing a climate event with very strong electrical storms,” said Viteri, adding that this weather event “is going to complicate things a little more, according to information from the National Weather and Hydrology Institute (Inamhi), and could last until Saturday.”

She said that the municipality of Guayaquil has deployed 250 firefighters, 300 water company workers and 22 “hydrocleaner” vehicles, along with 500 Transportation Agency workers to handle incidents around town.

The most affected sectors of the city, which are inundated and surrounded by water, include Urdesa, Suburbio, Vía Daule, Alborada, Samanes, Guayacanes and Tanca Marengo Avenue, among others, city authorities said.

At the airport, the road through the cargo and loading area is flooded but not the runway, and thus the facility is still conducting flight operations.

Viteri said that just one aircraft was unable to land due to a thunderstorm, adding that no known injuries or deaths had resulted from the rains.

Firefighters responded to 32 incidents, of which 20 were medical emergencies, authorities said.

City Hall reported that a shelter has been opened to take in residents affected by the heavy rains and who need to get themselves into a more secure location.

Besides the effects of the rain, Guayaquil residents on Thursday also had to deal with paralysis of the transport network due to the rise in passenger demand.

The government reported that, after Guayas Gov. Francesco Tabacchi spoke with leaders and representatives of Guayaquil transportation services, “it was agreed that the measure will be lifted” on Thursday afternoon.

Economic and Social Inclusion Minister Esteban Bernal said Thursday that 21 people have died and more than 23,000 have been affected nationwide by the winter storm.

The ongoing rain has affected several parts of the country, causing flooding, landslides, assorted damage to infrastructure and road closures, among other things.

Specifically on Thursday, the nationwide Security Service (ECU 911) reported that several areas besides Guayaquil had been affected by the heavy rain and electrical storm.

Videos posted on the social networks showed scenes of flooded Guayaquil streets.

According to Inamhi, the forecast is for the rains to continue in the coming hours, especially in the provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Manabi and along the coast.

EFE sm/cpy/bp

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