Europe pledges support; Murder, violent crime rates remain depressed; High UV warning is issued as temperature records fall; Power outage hits Cuenca

Jan 29, 2024 | 0 comments

Following meetings with European Union and Spanish officials, President Daniel Noboa said that “Europe stands with Ecuador in our fight against narco terrorists.” Noboa returned Saturday from Europe, saying that agreements reached in Madrid last week will provide “training, intelligence and other resources” in Ecuador’s battle with drug gangs.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Friday that “Ecuador’s fight is also Spain and Europe’s fight” due to high levels of cocaine consumption in EU countries. “We will provide various resources to Ecuador to help in their campaign against international crime groups,” he said. “We have all been shocked by the media images we have seen in recent months of the violence in Ecuador, and we fully support President Noboa in his efforts to restore order.”

Cuenca residents have been advised to protect themselves against high levels of UV sunlight.

During his visit to Spain, Noboa also met with King Felipe VI and his wife Letizia.

Murder, violent crime rates remain depressed
Criminal groups continue to maintain a low profile during the government’s state of emergency offensive, according to Interior Minister Mónica Palencia. “Violent crime, particularly murder, remains much lower during the operations that began January 9,” she said. “Criminal actors understand that committing crimes at this time reveals their positions and their intentions. This is good news for the citizens of Ecuador.”

Since the beginning of the joint military-police operations, murders have averaged 10.4 per 100,000 population on a daily basis, Palencia said, compared to 27.8 for 2023. “Because of our intercessions we see a large reduction and we expect the lower numbers to continue throughout the operation and, hopefully, beyond,” she said.

Palencia said that 237 suspected terrorists have been arrested since January 9 while another 2,180 “common criminals and gang foot soldiers” have been taken in to custody.

She added that talks regarding the deportation of foreign convicts continue with Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. “We have reached tentative agreements with Colombia and Peru and expect to begin making prisoner transfers soon,” she said.

Temperature records fall in the sierra
Cuenca recorded a high temperature of 27C (81F) degrees Saturday, setting a new record for the date and coming within one degree of the all-time record. It was the third record set during the week.

According to Ecuador’s Meteorology Institute (Inamhi), new records have been set throughout the inter-mountain valley since early last week. “This is an unprecedented period of high temperatures and high UV radiation,” Inamhi said is a bulletin that warned residents to protect themselves from the sun.

New high temperature records were recorded in Azuay, Pichincha, Imbabura, Cotopaxi and Loja Province, as well as in the Galapagos Islands. Unseasonably high temperatures were also recorded in Carchi, Napo and Zamora Chinchipe Provinces in the Amazon region.

UV rates of 11 to 12, considered “extremely dangerous,” were reported in Pichincha, Loja and Imbabura Provinces, Inamhi said. In Azuay and Cotopaxi Provinces, UV rates of 9 and 10 were reported.

Power outage hits three provinces
Parts of Guayaquil and Cuenca suffered electric power outages Saturday due to problems in a transmission line from the Rio Paute generation stations. The outages affected large areas of Guayas, Azuay and Cañar Provinces, the Energy Ministry reported.

The ministry Issued a statement after power had been restored at 4:30 p.m., that the outage was not part of scheduled blackouts. “This event was the result of equipment failure in a power line. Our electric generation stations are operating at normal capacity and no planned outages are scheduled.”

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