All four of Cuenca’s rivers overflowed their banks Sunday following heavy rain overnight and morning rains. The nearby towns of Baños, Misicata, Girón, Paute, and Gualaceo were also hard hit by a slow-moving weather system that drenched Ecuador’s central valley from Quito to Loja.
Rescue workers say that hundreds of homes, condominiums, and businesses were temporarily flooded Sunday morning and afternoon, as were several of Cuenca’s linear riverside parks. Electricity was cut in the area near El Descanso, when a power station was flooded.
One man drowned when he attempted to retrieve floating debris from the Rio Tarque, near Victoria del Portete.
Police were busy stretching warning tape along river banks Sunday afternoon. The Rios Tomebamba, Tarqui, and Yanuncay were declared to be in the “danger alert stage” while the Rio Machángara was declared “pre-alert.”
Transit police were stationed in various locations in Cuenca, to direct traffic around flooded roadways, including Av. Primero de Mayo and Calles 12 de Abril and Tres de Noviembre. The autopista between Cuenca and Azogues was closed for three hours late Sunday morning.
In rural areas, farmers reported losing small livestock, including pigs and sheep, and cattle were seen standing knee-deep in water in the Tarqui Valley, close to the Rio Tarqui. Several landslides closed roads and highways throughout the area.
Rainfall totals ranged from 90 to 205 millimeters (3.5 to 8 inches) in the Cuenca area, according to the national meteorology office.