Ecuador inaugurated water projects and works on El Niño preventive measures

Agencia Andes
Cañar water project, for floods control, was inaugurated last January 12 by President Rafael Correa. Photo: Senagua

Guayaquil, Jan 18 (Andes).- The Ecuadorian government carried out prevention actions in the territory with committees from different sectors and put all water projects floods control into operation for , as main actions to mitigate the effects of El Niño phenomenon.

To develop prevention actions, response and mitigation, last November 18, the Executive decreed state of emergency in 17 of the 24 provinces of the country, which include all places in the coast and villages located in the foothills of the Andes west mountain range.

The extraordinary measure lasted 60 days until January 18 which allowed the government to move emergency resources during this time to meet requirements of populations that have had inconvenients with the season’s first rains.

During the state of emergency, the government inaugurated four of the six water projects, neglected for decades. Chone’s project, located in the northern area of the coastal province of Manabi, was inaugurated on November 23. Last December 22, the project Dauvin (Daule-Vinces) which benefits the provinces of Guayas and Los Rios was inaugurated.

Starting January 12, Cañar and Naranjal projects started operating. These allow controlling riverbeds of the Rivers under the same name that affected southern areas of the provinces of Guayas and Cañar.

The State invested about 1,000 billion dollars in the construction of six water projects that will provide water for irrigation to more than 200,000 hectares and controlling floods in other 145,000 hectares. With these works, the government built 70% of the country’s water infrastructure in history.

President Rafael Correa has indicated many times that with the new water infrastructure, Ecuador is more prepared than in other years to face El Niño ravages, a phenomenon that strongly affected the South American nation in 1982 and 1998.

“The country can be sure we’re acting accordingly and coordinately and we’re a lot more prepared than in previous years, all actions have been taken, El Niño phenomena occurred in 1982 and 1998 have been analyzed; we know the floodable areas and in many of such sectors we’ve built projects and infrastructure to avoid floods,” president Correa declared last November in Guayaquil during a talk with media.

Likewise, the government created the Secretariat for Risk Control (SGR), which coordinates actions that were before carried out by the institution called Civil Defense, dependent on the Armed Forces, but did not have adequate resources or logistics.

SGR created a risks map of all regions of the country; it is a tool for sectional governments to adopt preventive measures in case of disasters like floods and landslides.

It also organizes meetings with emergency operations committees (COE) to coordinate actions in case of damages as a result of rains. On Monday, officials at the SNR were in Esmeraldas (north coast) and Babahoyo (Los Rios) to hold meetings with local authorities.

Felipe Bazan, vice minister of Risk Management, explained that 19 shelters are available in Esmeraldas as well as other safe places in areas considered floodable in coastal provinces.

Minister of Agriculture, Public Works, Housing, Education, Economic and Social Inclusivity, among others; also execute plans and programs to help the population settled in areas considered risky.

To date, El Niño phenomenon has not wreaked havoc despite the fact the Pacific Ocean’s temperature is above normal levels during this season. The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inamhi) has associated the last rainfall with the rainy season of these months.

For now, authorities have not said anything about a new state of emergency.

El Niño phenomenon is a global event characterized, in the case of Ecuador, by strong rain that causes serious floods, affecting humans and agricultural activities.