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Government reduces cell phone charges for the poor, Search continues for Cajas hiker

Search for lost Cajas hiker continues

Teams of emergency personnel, park rangers and the Cuenca Citizen Guard continue the search for Wilson Serrano, the hiker lost 11 days ago in the Cajas National Park. “We will continue to conduct our rescue operation until we find the hiker or until we are told to end it,” says Felipe Camacho, Citizen Guard deputy director. “We have no reason to believe that Mr. Serrano is not still alive.”

A search party in the Cajas

The search is being conducted by grid sector, Camacho says, using both human resources and low-flying camera drones. “We face difficulties with the high elevations and the topography, which is very rugged, containing many caves, steep cliffs and deep ravines. Because of abundant water supplies, it is possible to survive for as long as two weeks in the region, assuming there is adequate shelter.”

Government reduces cell phone charges for the poor

The government has announced plans to offer a subsidy for cell phone use to the poorest Ecuadorians. The reduction in charges would range from 70 to 89 percent, according to Minister of Telecommunications Guillermo León and would be available to beneficiaries of Development and Joaquín Gallegos bonds.

“This measure is intended to bridge the digital divide that affects the most disadvantaged sectors of the population,” León says. ”Communication is a basic and essential need in today’s world and the poor should not be denied access to it.” He added that the government is in talks with cell service providers CNT, Claro and Movistar, who will be ordered to provide the cost reduction to about one million Ecuadorians in exchange for payment from the telecommunications ministry.