In a new survey of religious preference, Cuenca was the least Catholic of all cities in Ecuador with a population of more than 100,000.
The survey, conducted by the Ecuadorian Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), which questioned 13,211 people over the age of 16 years, showed that 74% of Cuencanos consider themselves Catholic while 4.5% said they were evangelical Christians and 21.13% said they practiced other religions or were non-practicing Christians. About 8% said they were agnostic or atheist.
A university survey taken in 1994, showed 92% of Cuencanos were Catholic.
INEC voiced surprise at the new findings, which showed that 80% of citizens nationwide say they are Catholic. “Until now, our information has shown that more than 90% of Ecuadorians professed to be Catholic,” a press release said. “This indicates a major shift of religious preferences.”
The surey showed that protestant religions were growing rapidly. Just as surprising, survey authors said, was the number of respondents who said they practiced other religions or were Christians but did not attend church.
Nationwide, the survey found that more than 11% of respondents were evangelical Christians, 1% Jehovah’s Witnesses and .75% Mormons.
High winds ground flights at Tababela
Quito’s new aiport at Tababela was ordered closed for six hours Sunday due to high winds. The closure was ordered after pilots of incoming aircraft complained that conditions were causing rough landings. According to airport meteorologists, cross winds on the runway were gusting to over 20 miles per hour Sunday morning.
International flights were diverted to Guayaquil while national flights were cancelled in Guayaquil an Cuenca.
Critics of the Tababela airport location, had predicted problems due to high winds. Tababela is located in a large, open valley east of Quito that is prone to higher winds than the old airport in central Quito. Meteorolgists say that July and August are the windiest months of the year in the Ecuadorian sierra.
Flights resumed at Tababela by mid-afternoon Sunday and no further delays or cancellations were reported.
Westside water main rupture leaves 85,000 dry
A water main break Friday on Av. Las Americas left approximately 85,000 residents without water, some for as long as 36 hours.
Officials blamed the rupture on a faulty weld between pipe sections and said that due to related damage, repair work took more than 24 hours to complete.
The break affected residences and businesses in the west and southwest areas of the city.
Carlos Julio Jaramillo, manager of ETAPA, the utility company responsible for city water service, apologized for the inconvenience. “This was a huge problem and we had a large crew working non-stop to fix it. The repair work was very complicated.”
Residents in the affected area took water from fire hydrants that ETAPA opened, as well from 5,000 gallon water trucks that arrived just before service was restored on Sunday.
Photo caption: Cuenca’s cathedral is the center of religious life in the city.