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Torrential rains flood houses, trigger landslides in Cuenca and Gualaceo

Hundreds of public employees in Cuenca and Gualaceo were called into work Sunday afternoon to help with the clean-up following heavy rains that flooded streets and residential neighborhoods.

Workers clear mud from a city street on Sunday. (El Tiempo)

Dozens of rural roads and highways were blocked by landslides and the national transit office said some of them would not be cleared until late Monday. A transit official said that new landslides were being reported late Sunday night and the full extent of the damage would not be known until Monday morning.

ETAPA, Cuenca’s public utility company, said it had crews working in a number of locations around the city, clearing debris from roads and drainage systems, and helping families whose homes were flooded.

In the historic district, part of the facade of an historic home collapsed on Calle Baltazara de Calderón during the storm. In suburban Visorrey, several homes were flooded for the second time in two weeks and a city official said that the city was considering condemning at least three of them due to recurring flooding.

Terrestrial Terminal closed for about 30 minutes as water covered the parking lot and entry way. In addition, streets and roads in Ochoa Leon, Patamarca, Las Orquídeas, and Los Trigales were closed temporarily due to flooding, police said.

In Gualaceo, northeast of Cuenca, water stood two feet deep on city streets, and a number of cars were reported damaged. A larger concern, officials say, are the hundreds of hectares of cropland that were flooded during the downpour. Some farmers say their crops are a total loss.

According to the national weather office, heavy rains fell throughout the sierra and several neighborhoods in Quito reported damage from flooding. The weatherman says the current weather pattern will continue through the first part of the week.