Ecuador and Peru have seen continuous heavy rainfall over the last few days, causing severe flooding and landslides.
Heavy downpours during the night of 20 January 2014 flooded several towns in four cantons of Los Rios, Ecuador, causing the collapse of two houses, but fortunately no fatalities were reported, unlike earlier this year. Obsolete and collapsed sewer systems have been blamed for the flooding of streets and residents are concerned about the polluted water entering their homes and businesses.
In the Ricaurte parish, Urdaneta Canton, residents fear that the rainfall that has continued since January 21, increasing the flow rate of the Catarama river, raises the possibility of a re-occurrence of flooding that has hit them in past two winters consecutively. Although the river level is not yet approaching the edge of the town’s boardwalk, the local authority has erected an earth wall on the riverbank. In the same jurisdiction, the Pijullo river has flooded the Los Roblecitos area, affecting rice crops.
The Director of Risk Management of Los Rios (e), Daniel Rojas, has contacted local authorities to urgently convene the Cantonal Emergency Operations Committee to assess the situation.
The San Francisco reservoir, in the canton Ventanas, also experienced increased river flow and overflowed, affecting the Zapotal – Las Naves road linking this province with Bolivar. Traffic was held up for several hours, until the water level began to drop at about noon.
In Babahoyo, in neighborhoods such as Gary Esparza, water entered several homes. In the cooperative 1 de Diciembre, on the outskirts, the wooden house of Carlos Torres collapsed from the force of the rain.
In the La Constanza sector, in the Canton Montalvo, a stream overflowed and flooded various crops.
Heavy rains on the night of 21 January also caused flooding of two houses in the Brisas del Colorado sector in Santo Domingo, with lighting knocking out power for several minutes in some parts of the city. Firefighters were also required to attend early morning emergency calls regarding flooding in other sectors such as la 30 de Julio, La Rumiñahui, and Asistencia Municipal.
In Peru, following flooding in Cusco at the beginning of 2014, heavy rains have again been falling in southern and central Peru since mid-January, causing more flooding and landslides. In the department of Cusco two people were killed on 20 January when the river Huaro overflowed and destroyed their home.
More than 30 houses have been destroyed and another 60 damaged by landslides in the department of Huancavelica, while one person was missing as of 21 January.
Forecasters expect that moderate to heavy rainfall could still continue over the central and southern Sierra and Amazon basin of Peru in the next seven days.