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Flooding in Ecuador Leaves 13 Dead

March 21, 2002

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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ Flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains have left 13 people dead and more than 6,000 people homeless throughout Ecuador, officials said Wednesday.

Torrential storms have drenched Ecuador for the past two weeks, causing rivers to overflow and flooding entire neighborhoods of towns and cities.

Civil Defense director Ricardo Avendano said the damage was worst in the coastal provinces of Manabi, El Oro and Guayas, where the country’s second largest city, Guayaquil, is located.

Health Minister Patricio Jamriska said the government was considering declaring a health emergency in the flooded areas.

Avendano said that the possibility of a renewed El Nino weather phenomenon this year could mean Ecuador’s rainy season will stretch on longer than normal.

El Nino is a periodic warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean that disrupts weather patterns worldwide, including causing abnormal flooding in Peru and Ecuador.

Ecuador’s rainy season normally runs from November until April.

Fernando Zurita, director of the navy’s Oceanographic Institute, said the rains will intensify at the end of March and in April.

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