Travel Safety EcuadorCulture Shock! Ecuador: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
November 10, 2009
ELECTRICAL SHORTAGES RAISING HAVOC WITH ECUADOR'S CITIZENS
The situation is worsening with electrical blackouts in Ecuador. The Undersecretary of Electricity and Renewable Resources submitted that blackouts and rationing may continue until the New Year. However, rain could change the situation. The government is hoping that they will be able to make purchases of power from Peru by November 18, 2009, which may alleviate the situation. Critics of the government are stating that when President Correa took office that there was a $700 million dollar fund to invest in the hydroelectric plant but, it was broken apart to fund other projects. The government is also being criticized for not informing the public earlier so measures could be taken. Critics also claim the government had been alerted several months ago of a possible shortage of electricity.
Reports from Ecuador indicate major disruptions in business and it is taking a toll on an already crisis laden country. Most major hospitals are reported to have generators but laboratories and clinics are having a difficult period. Traffic is horrendous during outages. Citizens report that police presence is almost non existent in certain areas. While factories are not currently affected, orders are beginning to drop due to the shortages of electricity. Current supplies of electricity are down about 16 percent from national demand.
It is our opinion that if the current situation with shortages in electrical power continues that the safety situation in Ecuador could deteriorate rapidly. Shortages and competition for limited resources in most any country can fuel the fire of social unrest. With the economy already in a severe recession the fire is being stoked in Ecuador. It has been reported that current losses to the economy are at about $20 million dollars a day. We believe that the cost is probably higher as well as the social cost (lack of medical treatment, shortages of food). The citizenry may lash out with civil unrest if the situation is not remedied.
Nicholas Crowder, the editor of Ecuadortraveladvisory.com and LANEWSUPDATE.com is available for media monitoring or consulting regarding safety and security issues in Latin America. firstname.lastname@example.org
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