Northern Ecuador, in particular the Province of Esmeraldas, was affected by torrential rainfall between 24 and 25 January 2016. Since then, at least 2 of the province’s 7 cantons have declared an emergency.
In Eloy Alfaro, the mayor of the canton, Snr Francisco Castro Ayovì, declared a state of emergency on 27 January. Earlier, the mayor of Esmeraldas canton, Dr. Lenin Lara Rivadeneira, declared a state of emergency immediately after the event, on 25 January 2016.
According to a report by Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat (Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgo – SGR), a mesoscale convective system developed in the coastal region, with significant records of rainfall in 24 hours. The rain station in Esmeraldas, the Province’s capital city, recorded 244.5 mm in 24 hours, while Muisne (50 km west) recorded 88.5 mm. The rainfall intensified at around 23:00 on 24 January and lasted through the night, causing severe flooding by early 25 January.
Several rivers overflowed, including including the Teaone River in Esmeraldas and Atacame, the Blanco and Quinindé Rivers in Quinindé, and the Santiago River in Eloy Alfaro, causing major damages to the population living near the river banks.
According to an SGR report of 29 January 2016, a total of 2,460 persons have been affected by the flooding. The majority of the affected population lived in the city of Esmeraldas.
SGR reported 2 causalities, one in Esmeraldas and 1 in San Lorenzo. At least 10 houses in the province have been destroyed by the flood, and many more have been damaged. More than 500 families, a total of around 2,300 persons, have been evacuated, with assistance from emergency authorities, including personnel from the armed forces, police and fire service.
Transport infrastructure has also been damaged, including a bridge in Esmeraldas city and several public roads, causing difficulties in rescue operations and delivering essential supplies. Travel on the main road linking Muisne to Pedernales in Manabí Province has been interrupted due to a significant collapse caused by the heavy rain. As of 29 January, the problem was still unresolved according to SGR.
Severe weather also caused severe damage to the agriculture and livestock sectors, especially for small scale and subsistence farmers. A total of 548 hectares of farmland has been affected, of which at least 123 hectares has been severely damaged. Around 344 farmers or producers have been affected, with a total loss of USD 814,000. As many as 3,841 farm animals (mainly birds) died during the floods, affecting 283 small producers with a total loss for livestock of USD 4,020.
As mentioned above, the rain station in Esmeraldas, the Province’s capital city, recorded 244.5 mm in 24 hours, while Muisne (50 km west) recorded 88.5 mm. The rainfall intensified at around 23:00 on 24 January and lasted through the night, causing severe flooding by early 25 January.
Below are images from Japanese Aerospace Agency showing the heavy rain in Northern Ecuador, at 22:00 then 23:00 on 24 January, then 00:00 and 01:00 on the 25 January, 2016.
Saw the satellite-based rainfall estimates. Check out flood.umd.edu for flood estimates across the globe using satellite-based rainfall. Esmeraldas case evident on 26 Jan.
Thanks Robert, the GFMS is an extremely interesting project I will keep checking in future. The Esmeraldas event is pretty well estimated.