Bus crash in the Cajas kills 12, injures 30, Budget deficit drops $1.5 billion, Quito declares state of emergency as more refugees arrive

Aug 13, 2018

Twelve die, 30 are injured in Cajas bus crash

A bus carrying Guayaquil football fans home from Sunday’s game between Barcelona and Deportivo Cuenca overturned Sunday in the Cajas Mountains, 25 miles west of Cuenca, killing 12 and injuring 30. According to survivors, the brakes on the bus operated by the El Señor de los Milagros failed on a steep downhill section of highway. To avoid going over a cliff, the driver crashed the bus into a bridge abutment.

A survivor of the bus crash arrives at Cuenca´s Vincent Corral Hospital. (El Telegrafo)

The governor of Guayas Province, José Francisco Cevallos, said that the dead and injured were transported to the Vicente Corral hospital in Cuenca. On Sunday night, the Ecuadorian Transit Commission reported that the bus’ registration and inspection records were up to date.

Budget deficit drops $1.5 billion in 2018

Ecuador Finance Minister Richard Martinez announced Sunday that the budget deficit dropped dramatically between 2017 and 2018, from $2.285 billion to $788 million. He attributed the reduction to the results of cost-cutting and other measures adopted by the government. In an interview with El Telégrafo, Martinez again stressed the importance of reducing fuel subsidies, saying that the savings were needed to pay pensions, strengthen border security, and cover other expenses. He praised the economic law passed last week by the National Assembly and said the foreign investment it will generate will help maintain the momentum of the economic recovery.

Quito declares refugee emergency

The city of Quito declared a municipal emergency Saturday due to the large numbers of Venezuelan refugees arriving in the city. Under the declaration, the city is setting up public transportation services and shelters for the new arrivals. In addition, according to Quito communication director Alexandra Ortiz, the city is offering food, bedding and medical assistance. The focus, says Oritz, will be on the most vulnerable refugees, including children, women, the elderly and the disabled. She added that families will be kept together.

According to Ecuadorian immigration officials, 4,000 to 5,000 refugees a day are crossing the Colombian border into Ecuador and a large percentage of them pass through Quito. Officials say most of the Venezuelans will continue south, crossing the Peruvian border on their way to Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. An estimated 10 percent to 15 percent are expected to remain in Ecuador.

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