At least 15 buildings in Cuenca’s historic district, some publicly and church owned, report extensive water damage due to an intense hailstorm on Monday. The storm deposited as much as a foot of ice in some areas, clogging drains and sewers. In at least three cases, roofs collapsed under the weight of the ice.
According to Marcelo Quevada, an architech who works with the city’s historic preservation committee, water that was diverted by ice caused damage in several areas of the city but was especially severe in the historic district. “The ice caused back-ups that overflowed on roofs and patios,” he said. “The damage to ceilings, including to earthen walls and murals that date back to colonial times was very serious in three cases. Artwork in several historic churches suffered damage.”
To prevent damage from hailstorms in the future, Quevada recommended frequent roof and drain cleanings and, if necessary, replace them with drains with greater capacity. “Preventive maintenance could have prevented some of the damage but storms of this intensity are difficult to prepare for. We have not seen one like this is many years.”
Complaints mount about long waits for vaccines
Cuenca’s Citizen Guard was called to the Pumapungo Health Center on Wednesday to control the long lines of mostly elderly residents waiting for Covid-19 vaccines. Staff at the center said that many of those waiting showed up without appointments, slowing the process for those who did. Some of those turned away claimed they had appointments but were prevented from getting their shots due to the confusion.
Return to ‘red light’ status in Loja Province
Zapotillo joins three cantons in Manabi Province in reimposing “red light” health restrictions due to an increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. The Loja Province community on the Peruvian border has reported 40 new cases and eight deaths in the first three weeks of March. Under the new rules imposed by the local Emergency Operations Committee, all liquor sales are suspended and restaurants and bars can only operate from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, city markets must close by 5 p.m. daily and all public Easter activities are suspended.
Former health minister welcomes his family to Miami
Ecuador’s former Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos welcomed family members arriving from Quito on Tuesday at the Miami International Airport, according to social media reports. Zevallos, who is under investigation by the attorney general’ office, travelled to Miami earlier this month after he resigned his position in the wake of revelations he had administered Covid-19 vaccines to himself and his mother and a number of top government officials. He holds joint Ecuadorian-U.S. citizenship.