The 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador and parts of the North of Peru, this past weekend (Saturday, 18 March 2023) did not affect banana production, producers and exports say. Instead, heavy rains destroyed infrastructure and reduced production somewhat as efforts to repair the damage are under way.
Areas in Ecuador where the earthquake's impact was felt strongly.
The earthquake that hit on Saturday afternoon off the Pacific Coast affected the coastal cities and even highlands of Ecuador that led to the death of 13 people. Over 460 people were injured, several homes destroyed and others badly damaged and cracked leaving thousands stranded. Ecuador, which is prone to earthquakes last had a major and more damaging quake in 2016 that killed 600 people. Tremors from the latest earthquake were felt in the region and in the north of Peru with one death reported.
According to the organic and conventional banana grower and exporter Marianella Ubilla, general manager of Agzulasa, they are relieved that the latest earthquake was not as destructive as the one in 2016. She says heavy rains were much more damaging and has slowed production of bananas.
“Fortunately we are okay. The last earthquake was in 2016 and it was 6,9 and we had a lot of damages and a lot of deceased. The current earthquake was around 6,5 and the damages are less. The earthquake has not affected the farms, but the heavy rains have destroyed infrastructure like pump stations, rivers and bridges. I think it will reduce the production, but not too much, because we were expecting better production this month and it will be better in April and May.”
Ecuador’s banana industry guilds confirmed that production and exports was not impacted by the earthquake. Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso addressed the nation on television and said rescue operations and support is underway. He also said government support for people who lost houses was being provided, while seeking international assistance to help the recovery.
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