Some motorists trapped as slides affect all roads to Cuenca; Sayausí disaster impact is widespread; Covid rates at new low; Pharmacies provide gov’t meds
Hola, Todos –
Exposición – An exhibit of 35 paintings by children and youth with Downs Syndrome opened ayer in the Quinta Bolívar. “Trazos de igualdad” will run until el 31/3 with hours from 8:30-16:30.
Sayausí en ermergencia (Sayausí in emergency) – See Tuesday’s article in CHL.
Aluvión: daños, dolor y muerte (Alluvium: damage, pain and death) – About 250,000 Cuencanos were left without water yesterday when operations were suspended at the water treatment plants in El Cebollar (which supplies 40% of Cuenca’s water), San Pedro, and Sayausí. It also paralyzed the Virgen de El Milagro plant which is fed by a community water channel. All the plants were affected by landslides in the El Lirio-Marianza-Gulag-Zorrocucho stretch of the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme. Rocks and mud were washed into the Tomebamba. Rubén Benítez, manager of ETAPA EP, said a contingency plan was activated with 16 tankers bringing water to various sectors of the city. There was also a problem with ETAPA’s internet service due to a failure in the fiber optic network from international providers.
The #1 bus line will only go as far as the Y of Sayausí due to the slides in the Marianza zone.
The slides are also affecting agricultural producers who cannot get their products to market and in some cases, can’t get to their animals. The Ministerio de Educación suspended in-person classes at schools without water. The City of Cuenca opened 3 shelters in San Roque, the Centro del Adulto Mayor, and the Fray Gaspar de Carvajal school with beds, kitchens, and spaces for personal hygiene. However, as of yesterday afternoon, there weren’t any families in the shelters. <The advantage of big families – someone can always take you in.> The municipality is also receiving donations at the offices of Acción Social Municipal in San Roque, and in the parque La Libertad. What is especially needed is non-perishable food, clothing in good condition, and mattresses. The forecast is for more rain in the inter-Andean alley and warm temperatures.
4 kilómetros devastados por lluvias (4 kilometers devastated by rains) – Abour 4 km. of road west of the Y at Sayausí is covered by slides, overflowing creeks, layers of mud, and an incalculable quantity of rocks. Fire fighters, police and military personnel are carrying the injured and ill out on stretchers. They are also carrying children in their arms so they won’t sink into the mud. <A kid walking through all that gooey mud would probably reach the end of the path barefoot after the mud sucked his shoes off.> People who work or went to the Cajas for the weekend are stuck and unable to get back into Cuenca. The expectation is that work to clear the material will take about 2 weeks. Authorities are working on opening a pedestrian passage in 2 or 3 days. They are also working to temporarily reopen km 49 so that people trapped in Zorrocucho can go through Cañar to get back to Cuenca. <If I’m reading the map correctly, to get to Cañar you first have to go to down to Naranjal, more than half way to Guayaquil and then back up into the mountains to Cañar. But there’s another way through the Cajas on a dirt road that puts you in Soldados, and from there to San Joaquín.>
The rains over the weekend have caused other landslides. There is a rock slide at the Pichanillas sector of the vía Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje, and in the Caledones zone which has affected traffic. MTOP is at the site to remove the material. There is a serious slide in the Laurel sector of the vía Tendales-San Rafael-Pucará. Municipal equipment was working yesterday to open the road. In Santa Isabel, a bridge over the río Minas that serves the Minas de Shurupe sector collapsed. The access to the Shaglli parish also suffered slides. <Looks like if you can’t fly to wherever you want to go, you’d better stay at home.>
Orquídea lleva nombre de ambientalista (Orchid named after environmentalist) – Ecuagenera has named a new hybrid orchid it developed after the environmentalist Yolanda Kakabadse. The orchid is named Maxillaria Yolanda Kakabadse, and is a hybrid of the Maxillaria Sangay which comes from the Amazonía, and the Maxillaria Molitor, a species native to Sucumbíos. José Portilla, executive president of Ecuagenera said that the company wants to immortalize people dedicated to conservation of the environment by naming hybrid orchids after them. <Would you want one of those orchids that look like a monkey face named after you?> He also explained the complicated process of hybridizing an orchid.
Reparos a plan para medicinas (Repairs to plan for medicines) – The pilot plan for outsourcing the pharmacies of the public hospitals will start el jueves and proceed in phases. One reason for outsourcing pharmacies is to avoid corruption. <I think crooks will find a way to game this system. Setting up fly by night pharmacies and selling watered down drugs comes to mind.> With this new system, patients can get their medications from private pharmacies after they have been seen at a public hospital. Jorge Saquicela, attorney for the Unión Nacional de Propietarios de Farmacias el Ecuador (Unprofe) remembered that the Government of Rafael Correo tried this project twice, but it never went anywhere because “El Estado siempre ha sido un pésimo pagador.” (The State has always been a lousy payer.) <No different from the US where you did get your money, only 3-4 months late. The only worse payers were real estate developers with the last president probably the grand champion of lousy payers.>
Andrea Bersosa, Health coordinator for Zone 6 said that patients could take their prescriptions to an authorized private pharmacy and have it filled. She said there is a national standard price list for medicines. Once the medicine has been dispensed, the system will block the prescription and notify the attending hospital. The National Gov’t assured that it would guarantee the budget needed for this program. <I hope it’s got more than Monopoly money on hand.>
Positividad de COVID (COVID Positivity) – The MSP announced that viral positivity for COVID is at 5%, signifying that Ecuador is on the road to controlling the pandemic.
Cirugías de cataratas (Cataract surgeries) – 29 Ministerio de Salud Pública patients benefited from a cataract surgery campaign el sábado in cooperation with the Club Rotario Tomebamba through its Misión Claridad project.
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.