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The Ecuadorian climate is in general fairly predictable, and as we have mentioned at Ecuador Living, generally likened to an ‘eternal spring’ climate in the Sierra.

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Occasionally things can go awry with the weather especially when global phenomena such as El Niño make their presence felt. A recent reader email to Gary asked why we at El Meson aren’t talking and doing more about the flooding that is taking place in Ecuador at the moment rather than promoting the good things we see in Ecuador.

I believe Gary responded that whilst we are a very small organization we strive to make an impact on a local scale here in Cotacachi and the surrounding area. We have facilitated free English classes, an English book library and education to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the same opportunities, not to mention made several donations to local organizations and contributed and supported local fund-raising events.

What we are not able to do is alleviate in any meaningful way the suffering that is currently taking place all over Ecuador but especially the coastal provinces. The coastal plain in Ecuador is between 50 and 150 miles wide and is a mainly agricultural area responsible for palm oil, rice, banana, and shrimp production among many other products. There is plentiful irrigation water from the large rivers flowing down from the western Andes slopes and also some reservoirs.

The same rivers have now overflowed their banks and the latest estimate is that 250,000 acres of crops have flooded and been destroyed. Some 20 people have died, 265,000 have been evacuated and there are estimated to be 3.5 million (a quarter of Ecuador’s population) adversely affected by the flooding. Every evening the local news shows people wading down main highways in waters up to their waists. Outboard powered dugouts are rescuing stranded people and animals. We see shots of people standing in their doorways with water up to their necks!

We are asked shouldn’t we be doing more yet the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health said days ago that demand for medical assistance has been so intense that it has surpassed what they had predicted. “Our mobile units can cope with, on average, 80 to 100 patients a day but at the moment they are receiving between 200 and 400 visits a day.”

It seems that as usual international reporting of these events is biased in terms of audience attention span. Last year there were floods in England that saw one death, a lot of property damage and some loss of homes. As far as I can make out, that event was reported worldwide and even made the news in Ecuador. Yet when hundreds die in Bangladesh or India, or now we see 3.5 million adversely affected in Ecuador it barely makes the news (so it seems to me) in the international media.

Slowly, international agencies and governments are recognizing the gravity of the situation. The governments of Japan, Spain and Argentina are sending blankets, tents and water storage tanks. Spain has sent 8 tons of aid in a Hercules transport plane. Ecuadorians themselves are starting to raise money through televised fund raising events and the International organization Catholic Relief Services has sent $10,000. (Is it just me but it seems that at least a couple more noughts on that amount wouldn’t go amiss).

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Chile sent aid yesterday and Venezuela has allocated $3 million of aid. As of today, 26th February, the $250,000 of aid allocated by the U.S government is expected to arrive and will be handled by the Red Cross. In addition the Pope has said prayers for the affected and asked we show solidarity with the victims.

The overall cause of these prolonged rains is a strong El Niño phenomenon. It had been predicted for this year but not as strong as has occurred. Here in the highlands of Cotacachi we have had more rain this year than normal. January and February correspond to what the locals call the “little summer” a break in what is normally considered the winter. The little summer should see little rainfall and many clear sunny days. ( Aligning the Ecuadorian seasons with names taken from our high-latitude seasons has always seemed mis-leading to me)

Meanwhile I’m hoping “the Little Boy” (El Niño) will take his leave soon and leave us with our sunny mornings here in Cotacachi and also that the world at large will be able to mobilize effective aid for the homeless in the Ecuadorian coastal provinces.

Come and see the good things in Ecuador – there are many!

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See how below:

Join us in Ecuador….

March 7-9 at International Investing and Business Made EZ which will be conducted at our Ecuador hotel. See www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

Mar. 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour. See
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate-tour

Mar. 12-14 Coastal Real Estate tour. www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

SAVE! Mar. 7-9 IBEZ and one or both real estate tours. www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-tours-savings

April 10 – 14 Super Thinking + Spanish
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-spanish-course

April 16-17 Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

May 13-17 Ecuador Import Export tour
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-import-and-export-tour

June 11-15, Super Thinking + Spanish
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-spanish-course

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

June 19- 21 Ecuador Shaman Tour
www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-shaman-mingo-tour