The phenomenon known as La Niña has left 20 dead in Ecuador, 61 in Bolivia and 13 in Peru, according to government sources in those countries. For several weeks Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) has been working in the Santa Cruz department of Bolivia helping flood victims.
A few hours ago, an Action Against Hunger emergency team from Colombia arrived in Guayaquil to carry out an initial evaluation of the damage caused by the latest floods in Ecuador. According to data from the Dartmouth Floods Observatory, the country’s five coastal provinces have experienced floods in recent months, affecting 315,000 people and destroying more than 217,000 hectares. Some 30% of crops have been damaged and it is estimated that the rain will continue throughout the month of March.
Comprised of a country director, a logistician, a food security officer, and a water and sanitation technician, ACF’s emergency team will arrive in the affected areas in the next few days. “We still don’t know which region we are going to work in. We know that the regions of Manabi, Guayas and Los Rios have received most of the damage and, especially in Los Rios, more than 50,000 families have been affected,” explained Patrice Chataigner, Country Director for Action Against Hunger’s emergency pool.
The meteorological phenomenon, La Niña—characterized by low temperatures and usually occurs roughly every four years—has affected several countries of the Andean region, including Peru and Bolivia, and resulted in a total of 90 deaths to date. In Bolivia, according to the first evaluation carried out by Action Against Hunger’s team, more than 115,000 people have been affected by the rain-swollen Rio Grande. Meanwhile, in the Santa Cruz department, most of the sanitation infrastructure and fresh water wells have been inundated. The team sent to this area is already carrying out the initial task of drainage and emptying of latrines in order to avoid an epidemic related to the lack of basic sanitation, like cholera or other diseases associated with poor water quality. Globally, 80% of all diseases are related to a lack of potable water and basic sanitation.