Floods and volcanic ashfall affect thousands in Ecuador

QUITO (AFP) – Floods and ashfall from rumbling volcano Sangay have destroyed around 60,000 hectares of land and crops across Ecuador, affecting 350,000 people, the risk management service (SNGRE) said on Saturday.

“We support the population affected by the fall of ash from Sangay and floods nationwide,” President Lenin Moreno tweeted.

Moreno also announced the restructuring of “agricultural loans” and the dispatch of “teams to assist our farmers”.

About 16,320 hectares have been destroyed by floods that have affected several coastal and Andean provinces since the start of the rainy season on February 1, according to the most recent report on the SNGRE website. Six people have died with nearly 18,000 affected, it said.

Volcanic ashfall from Sangay, which has seen an increase in activity over the past week, spewing vast clouds of ash, has destroyed about 43,000 hectares of crops, affecting around 330,000 people, it said.

Ashfall from the 5,230 metre volcano, located in the southeast Amazon province of Morona Santiago bordering Peru, had eased with none recorded on Saturday in the six affected provinces.