Ecuador: Floods Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), DREF operation n°MDREC011

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

At 23:00 on 24 January rains over the province started increasing in intensity, causing the overflowing of the Esmeraldas, Muisne, Quininde, San Lorenzo, Eloy Alfaro, Rio Verde and Atacames rivers, which led to landslides that affected homes and main roads connecting Esmeraldas and Quininde, Esmeraldas and Atacames, and Esmeraldas and Río Verde. Road conditions began to normalise as rains decreased in intensity.

On 25 January after two days of heavy rains (24-26 January), Esmeraldas, Atacames, and Rio Verde authorities declared an emergency due to the impact caused by the flooding, especially since rivers and tributaries in the area maintained higher-than-normal levels several days after the event. On 30 January, through its Return Plan, the Province Governorate initiated actions to encourage residents to leave the places where they were being housed and return home. To this end, officials from various institutions visited the area and efforts began to clean up homes

According to official reports from the province of Esmeraldas, 5,899 families (23,955 people) were directly affected; 70 per cent were evacuated to shelters; and 30 per cent are still in the collective centres. The families who returned to their homes lost or suffered damage to between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of their belongings. Furthermore, official forecasts predict that rains will continue until mid-March.

According to Status Report 1 and the final mission report by the Ecuadorian Red Cross (ERC), the main impact was to road infrastructure, housing, containment walls, productivity, electrical systems, and potable water systems. At this time, the first response institutions conducting relief actions in affected areas include the Risk Management Secretariat, Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture, and Fisheries, Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion (MIES), Ministry of Public Health, fire brigade, national police, armed forces, National Water Secretariat, and local governments in each canton.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture, and Fisheries (MAGAP), over 2,000 have lost their crops, while 80 per cent of tourism has been affected since province authorities suspended Carnival activities, one of the two longest holidays and essential to the local economy.

On February 1st the decentralized local Government of Río Verde Canton and the Mayor of Atacames asked support to the Ecuadorian Red Cross to provide support in assisting families affected by floods in the province Esmeraldas and reduce impacts on affected areas.

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society

The Ecuadorian Red Cross, in fulfilment of its humanitarian mandate after the heavy rains that caused flooding in Esmeraldas in northern Ecuador, has commenced response activities in 18 communities and 3 collective centres in the cantons of Atacames and Rio Verde.

Direct impacts to populated areas caused by overflowing rivers include total and partial damage to dwellings, loss of crops and small livestock, and blockages in roads and secondary bridges, the latter of which have left some locations partially cut off.

As part of immediate response, headquarters deployed its national risk management technician and two volunteer National Intervention Team members to the area, who supported Province Board actions in the following areas:

  • Support to evacuation actions in flooded areas.

  • Assistance to the Esmeraldas Province Board President and her technical team in canton or province COE meetings.

  • Conduction of damage assessments needs analyses, and survey of families in accessible areas, with participation from Health, Risk Management and Youth volunteers.

  • Preparation of a situation report, and a final report of the emergency and of Ecuadorian Red Cross interventions.

  • Gathering of information regarding affected communities and collective centres set up in Esmeraldas and Atacames (validated and not validated by MIES).

  • Coordinated work with Catholic Church representatives. Support was provided to a collective centre not designated by the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES) that was housing several local families. The Catholic Church is conducting crisis support activities in coordination with the national police in three unofficial collective centres in the canton of Esmeraldas.

  • Institutional representation at province and canton COE meetings to organise interventions on the ground with support from national technicians.