A State of Emergency Declared
Click Image: Ecuador Flooding Since Feb.22, 2008
LOS RIOS PROVINCE, Ecuador, 2 April 2008 – Rain and floods are not unusual in Ecuador's winter, but this year torrential rains have continued since early January, affecting 13 provinces – nearly half the country.
Floods are expected to last until May, prompting President Rafael Correa to declare: 'This is not an emergency, this is a disaster. We don't have enough resources to assist the victims.'
With as many as 300,000 people uprooted from their homes, more than 14,000 are living in shelters and schools. About 40 per cent of the displaced are children.
'We had to flee our homes'
Where the floods hit the hardest, the scene is difficult to believe. People are living in the midst of an immense polluted lake, where transportation is only possible by small wooden boats. Villagers in some of the most affected provinces resist evacuation, fearing that their belongings will be stolen in their absence. But it is a risky proposition.