More rain (and flooding) is forecast; Unemployment, poverty rates surge in pandemic; Court considers Yaku’s recount demand; Closed schools taking a toll

Mar 4, 2021 | 1 comment

Miércoles, 3/3/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Otras cosas –

Titular – Hay riesgos de desbordamientos (There are risks of overflows) – The Instituto Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología (INAMHI) is predicting heavy rains for the rest of the week in Cuenca, the province, and the inter-Andean alley resulting in rivers and other waterways overflowing their banks. <So better hold off on doing your laundry until the rivers go down.> In Cuenca, the Yanuncay desbordó (flooded – your word for the day and maybe good for next week, too.) in the sector of av. De Las Américas y Cantón Paute and in the Quinta Lucrecia, Misicata and Barabón zones. The Tomebamba overflowed in the Empresa Eléctrica Regional Centro Sur sector, and the Tarqui desbordó in the Zona Franca sector, south of the city.

The Municipio identified 15 zones which are vulnerable to flooding. Along the Tomebamba they are at the Quinta de Balzaín, coliseo Jefferson Pérez and at the junction of the rivers at El Paraíso. The most dangerous sites on the río Yanuncay are in Barabón, the Misicata bridge, the colegio Bilingue, and the U. of Azuay (UDA). The areas at most risk along the Machángara are at Patmarca y Ochoa León, and along the río Tarqui they are in the Tarqui and Victoria del Portete parishes.

Covid hospitalization rates remain high at Cuenca hospitals. (El Mercurio)

Pobreza y la falta de empleo se agudizaron (Poverty and lack of employment worsened) – A study by the Encuesta Nacional de Empleo, Desempleo y Subempleo of the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censos (INEC) showed that 30.8%, or 3 out of 10 Ecuadorians, had regular employment with all the legal benefits; 5% were unemployed; and 63.3% worked informally. Diego Olmedo, an economic analyst said these figures are incoherent, inconsistent and unreal. Unemployment should be over 8%, and 25% formally employed is closer to reality.

Analizan regreso a las aulas (Return to classrooms analyzed) – Since one year ago, a little over 4 million primary and high school students have been studying online. This has presented more bad news than good since not all of the kids have been able to continue with their schooling. Research by UNICEF showed that 90,000 Ecuadorian students left school since they did not have the technology or connectivity to continue. In Azuay, 32% could not connect to classes. This percentage includes children who received teaching materials to use for their studies, but did not use them. Data about drop outs in Zone 6 are not available even though teachers have a form that they fill out to report how many students dropped their classes in the previous 2 weeks.

Private businesses, foundations, and public sector members have stepped up to help. In Cuenca, sites have been opened to help students with home work. The UNE (teachers’ union) collected donated computers and opened its offices where volunteers help kids with their homework. The problem is most visible in outlying areas where there are families who have 4 kids in school but only one computer. Diego Morales, a Cuenca councilman, said they are hearing from rural parishes that need better internet, donations of computers, and even the creation of temporary classrooms. Along with the foundations of the GADS (Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados – Decentralized Autonomous Governments which I think is any local government below the federal level), Morales has opened homework help centers in Molleturo and San Joaquín with good results. <Ecuadorian ingenuity at work – if the government can’t get schools open, then the community will.>

On 28/2, the national COE allowed 77 schools, both public and private, to return to in person classes. Teachers want classrooms to open once school personnel and students get vaccinated. The Defensoría del Pueblo (Ombudsman’s Office) requested precautionary measures to leave the decision about the 77 schools to a judge. The Defensoría wants the Government to improve rural connectivity and donate the technical equipment so students can continue to study virtually. The dilemma is to continue with the inequality in the students’ conditions or expose them to possible infections. Another question is what is the plan to get the 90,000 drop outs back into the system.

Lasso y Arauz tras votos de azuayos (Lasso and Arauz after votes from Azuayos) – In Azuay, Lasso and Arauz combined won 35% of the vote with 42.17% going to Yaku Pérez and 15.07% going to Xavier Hervas. Other provinces had clearer results for the run off candidates with Arauz preferred in la Costa and Lasso in la Sierra and Amazonas. But in Pichincha and Azuay the results weren’t so clear. Hervas’ votes are more likely to go to Lasso, but Pachakutik (Pérez) has not supported either candidate.

Lasso and Arauz are campaigning in Azuay and Cuenca this week. Both candidates addressed the issue of the prison in Turi after the national attention the riots received. Both candidates said the prison should be regional and not national, supporting the position of local officials.

Salud teme olas de pacientes por COVID- (Health fears waves of COVID patients) – As of ayer, 97 of the 211 beds for Covid patients were occupied in Cuenca, but the problem is with ICU beds where 62 (89%) of the 69 total beds are occupied by patients needing ventilators. In the private system, 22 of the 35 ICU beds are occupied. Doctors are preparing to treat patients who could have been infected during Carnaval and are at risk of complications. Doctors are also asking the population to beef up their biosecurity measures such as masks, distancing and hand washing.

La ONU confía en el TCE (The UN trusts the TCE) – António Guterrez, Secretary General of the UN, said he had confidence that the Tribunal Contencioso Electoral (TCE – Contentious Electoral Tribunal) would take care of the complaints about the election results promptly and diligently. He also welcomed Ecuador’s peaceful general election on 7/2. The TCE had until today to decide on allowing the recount of 27,000 ballot boxes which was denied by the CNE which only accepted a recount of 31 boxes. If the TCE decides to process the appeal, it has 15 days to issue a decision.

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –


Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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