Miércoles, 20/4/2016: Earthquake volunteer requirements, National building code, Tranvía check shows no damage, Supplies go by air

Apr 21, 2016 | 4 comments

Hola, Todos – 

Thank you all for your feedback.  The jokes will be back, but not in the earthquake news which is too tragic to joke about.

Pagina cultural – chl jeanne logo

Upcoming events

Exposición fotográfica – The documentary foto exhibit, “La Mochila del litoral” (The Coastal Backpack) will open Thurs at 18:00 in the Museo Pumapungo and will run for 1 month. The fotos show social innovation in various Afro communities along the Colombian coast.

Ongoing or finished events –

A Colombian  documentary film – “Porro hecho en Colombia” (Spliff/joint) made in Colombia) is part of the Festival de Cine Colombiano.  The movie showed Wed. at 10:00 to high schools students and at 19:00 to the general public in the Sala de Conciertos at the CCE.  Free.  (Your favorite word.) (And do you really want to teach high school students how to roll a joint? Maybe they already know how.)

Cortos cubanos (Cuban short films) – The Ciclo de Cortometrajes Cubvanos showed “Paccha, de las hojas a la raíz” (Paccha, from the leaves to the root) Wed. at 19:00 at the Lakomuna collective on the stairs at El Otorongo plaza. The movie is a short review about the Pacha Parish in Cuenca Canton and its people and culture. Upcoming films include “Monte Rouge and “Epico.”

Articles about –

Damián Sinchi – He is one of the 4 Cuencano artists participating in the 13th Bienal de Cuenca which opens on 23/10.  He works in wood which he considers a permanent material, but in keeping with the Bienal’s theme, “Impermanencia” (Impermanence) he will give his sculpture an impermanent form based on a toy and he hopes his viewers will interact with the sculpture. (But if you break it, you’ve bought it.)

Your sliver of life article this week is about – A week of culture in the Salesianas – Salesian high schools have prepared a week of cultural and educational activities including a speech contest with themes like “Legends of Cuenca”, “The Influence of Dolores Veintimilla in Ecuadorian Poetry”, and “The generation of capital.”  Other projects include mini-theme gardens, electric labyrinths, and holographic projections.  (High school has come a long way since I was in one.)

“Mujeres que hablan.  Literatura ecuatoriana comtemporánea” (Women who speak. Contemporary Ecuadorian LIterature) contains texts of poetry, novels and stories by 15 writers.  (I hope you’re not one of those Neanderthals who believe that women, like children, should been seen and not heard.)

IX Encuentro Intercolegial de Literatura (9th Intercollegiate Literature Meeting) – is in progress.  It will include the launch of a poetry book, “Hojas vacías” (Blank pages) this Fri.  (As a Phillistine, a poetry book of blank pages is about at my level of appreciation – that and Ogden Nash.)

Earthquake news – 

Titular – Daño económico y drama (Economic damage and drama) – According to the Minister of Defense, 20,000 people have been left homeless, 480 are dead, 4,027 injured and 231 missing.  Thousands are sleeping outside for fear of the aftershocks or because their houses collapsed.  The injured are being treated in improvised tents and some have been sent to other cities.

Aid workers – Safety and aid institutions of Azuay are asking that volunteers who go to quake affected areas arrive prepared and equipped.  Emergency services already in the area have reported cases of volunteers who went to help but wound up joining the list of people who need assistance.

Volunteers – Aid organizations are asking that volunteers going into the earthquake zones be self sustaining including electrically since the power grid is down in many areas.  The profile of volunteers are those with first response knowledge, those who have the “TEMPLE, VALOR Y CORAJE” (spirit, valor and courage) to confront situations in which dead people and animals are common, the state of putrefaction is advanced, and you can stand to watch someone die for lack of timely care.

Volunteers should be equipped with rubber boots and heavy work shoes, work gloves, helmet, sleeping bag, mosquito net, sleeping pad, flashlight and extra batteries, warm and waterproof clothing, sun hat, sun block and insect repellant, knife, first aid kit, work backpack, sun and protective glasses, protective face masks, matches and candles. Volunteers going to the affected areas area also being vaccinated.

The second kind of volunteer that aid agencies need are people to assemble aid kits and food supply kits.

Reconstruction efforts – The current priority is to find survivors. The second phase is that of reconstruction including environmental sanitation.  Students at the U of Cuenca in their last year of Civil Engineering are being trained in Seismic Structural Design, Hydraulics and Sanitation so that they can apply this knowledge in the quake zones.

Fernando Pauta, architecture professor said the reconstruction should be based on urban planning principals.  He also stressed the necessity of soils and geological testing before rebuilding and the importance of applying and enforcing the Norma Ecuatoriana de la Construcción (NEC – a national building code).

Currently, 7 out of 10 residences have been built without architectural plans, plan approvals or building permits.  Nationally 3 million residences housing more than half the population are badly built.

“Mapeo Colaborativo (Collaborative Map) – A mapping project by LlactaLab Ciudades Sustenables (LlactaLab Sustainable Cities) introduced a project called Mapeo Ec which is providing a map with precise information on roads, alternate routes, collection centers, refuges, hospitals and more that can be used by a aid workers.  The map is available at www.openstreetmap.org.

Psychological support – 26 students and 2 professors from the U of Cuenca School of Psychology are in Manabí to provide psychological support. Students will not be allowed to spend more than 72 hours in the disaster zone. A second team is being mobilized to take over.

Local efforts – The Prefectura of Azuay sent a charter flight with 4 tons of supplies. They switched to air transport because of the conditions of the roads. The Cámara de Industrias de Cuenca (Cuenca Chamber of Industry) is helping fund the cost of the flights.

The Comité de Operaciones Emergentes (COE) said that the affected zones need only people with urban rescue experience and they will only transport such experts.  They also need surgeons, anesthesiologists and psychologists.

University students are planning a 5k run on 30/4 to benefit quake victims. They hope to raise $100,000.  There will be various (unspecified) locations to register.  Cost: $10.00.

Pres. Correa – Yesterday, Correa said that the losses would be in the $3 billion range, representing 3% of the gross domestic product with a reconstruction period of years.  He lamented the loss of lives and said that in Canoa, 80% of the people in this beach town were missing.

Aid distribution – Las Unidades de Policías Comunitarías (UPC – Community Police Units) have the responsibility to collect and distribute aid which will be in packaged. Ricardo Patiño, Minister of Defense, called for normalizing, little by little, commercial and productive activities so people can resume their daily lives.  Each UPC unit can supply 10,000 people in their assigned area.  Units will have 10 soldiers an 6 police plus officials from Risk Management, MIES, and volunteers.  They will place water tankers for people’s water supply as well as fix specific sites for aid distribution.  In Portoviejo, this will be at the military base (?) of Manabí, in Manta they will be at the Air Base and Toali Sports Complex, and in Pedernales at the Milenium School.  The rations should contain food for 3 days for a family of 4 or 5 with rice, pasta, banana flour, oil, beans, sugar, cocoa, tuna or sardines, powdered milk and water.

Births and rebirths – 3 people were rescued from the ruins of a shopping center in Manta yesterday.  A baby was born in the early morning to a woman whose husband had gone to Guayaquil and was there when the earthquake struck.  The mother and grandmother hope that he got the news through the report on Ecuavisa television.

Aftershock – An aftershock of 6.0 was felt in Quito, Guayaquil and most strongly in Manta.  The epicenter was in front of Muisne at a depth of 10 km. So far there have been 436 aftershocks.

US Aid – Pres. Obama has promised to do “todo lo posible” to help Ecuador’s recovery.  A team from USAid has arrived to help distribute supplies.

MIES – The agency has disavowed messages on social networks about temporarily taking children orphaned by the quake.  It asked that whoever has knowledge of children left uncared for go to the District Office or Zone Coordination of MIES so the children can be placed with family members or in safe shelters.

Salvoconductos (Safe passage certificates) – are NOT required by the government for vehicles transporting supplies to the coast, nor is the government issuing salvoconductos.  There is freedom of travel throughout the country.

Unions – The Frente Unitario de Trabajadores (Unified Front of Workers) is planning to donate one day’s income to quake victims.  Each person can channel their donation through organizations like the Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana (Ecuadorian Red Cross).  (Wouldn’t it be nice if we joined them that day and donated one day’s worth of pension or income to the relief effort?)

Otras cosas –

Tranvía – Technicians walked the lines to inspect for any earthquake damage and found none.  The Project Manager said that work is advancing on schedule except for a stretch of Mariscal La Mar between Mariano Cueva y Hermano Miguel where an old water collection line was discovered.  (A city as old as Cuenca is sure to have buried surprises for construction projects.)

Technology workshop – Seniors attended a workshop yesterday on the ABCs of technology at the Casa de Chaguarchimbana.

Infrastructure inspections – The Prefectura of Azuay has been inspecting roads, bridges and irrigations sytems since before the earthquake and reports no damage other than seasonal winter inconveniences.

Road conditions – MTOP has been cleaning rocks and dirt off the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme in various sections.  The vía Bella Unión-Limón had slides that closed the road for a hour and the vía Macas-Limón in the sector El Rosario was closed by a slide last night, but has been reopened.

Internacional – 

Venezuela – The opposition to the government, Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) is asking its members to maintain cohesion with the final goal of changing the government before Maduro’s term ends.  (In other words, no squabbling and keep your eyes on the ball.)

Deportes –

FFC 15k postponed – the 8th edition of the Festival Funcación de Cuenca 15k has been postponed to 22/5 at 9:00.  Runners’ kits will now be distributed on 21/5 from 10-17:00 in the Convention Center at the Mall del Río.

School sports – have been suspended until further notice.

And that´s all for today so Hasta Mañana –


P.S.  Ogden Nash wrote –

Senescence begins
And middle age ends
The day your descendants
Outnumber your friends

Does that apply to any of you out there?

My observation from yesterday about how well Ecuador has responded to disaster still holds.  The response sounds like it’s been immediate (No “Good job, Brownie” when there were people still hanging out of attic windows), organized, and thoughtful (like limiting the time psych students can stay at the coast).


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