Floods in Ecuador

News and Press Release
Originally published
Since January 2008, Ecuador has suffered intense rainfall and flooding due to the climatic phenomenon known as La Niña. The heavy rainfall that continues up to date caused many rivers to overflow, which led to the collapse of the drainage systems in various cities. Infrastructure, housing, agriculture and health, electrical, and communication systems have also been severely damaged by the flooding. A limited state of emergency was declared in nine provinces on 31 Jan 2008. However, on 21 February, the government declared a national emergency and requested international assistance. The most affected provinces are: Los Ríos, Esmeraldas, Manabí, Guayas, and El Oro.

Preliminary information reports at least 12 dead, 315,000 persons affected, and 21,500 persons residing in over 300 shelters.

The Ecuadorian government has developed developed a plan of action and mapped available resources. Three United Nations Technical Emergency Teams (UNETE) were deployed to the affected area between 7 - 22 Feb 2008 as was a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team.

The epidemiological information reports cases of classical and hemorrhagic dengue, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and hepatitis A; however cases do not surpass the numbers registered for the same period in 2007. Five regional health centers have been severely affected by the flooding.

PAHOWHO has prepared an action plan to work on safe water, epidemiological surveillance, situation rooms, and risk communication. PAHO/WHO is supporting the installation of SUMA (humanitarian supply management system. The health sector currently needs more personnel to complete the analysis of health needs and intensify epidemiological surveillance. Other immediate health needs include monitoring and control of water quality as well as distribution of food rations and hygiene kits.