Quito: Ecuador braced for a destructive season of weather caused by the El Nino phenomenon by declaring a 60-day state of emergency in its most vulnerable provinces.
President Rafael Correa said yesterday that the measure would free up "necessary and indispensable" emergency relief in case of disasters caused by El Nino, the cyclical warming of the central Pacific Ocean.
Government data indicate that the water level along Ecuador's Pacific coast is abnormally high, which "puts infrastructure near the shoreline at risk," Correa said.
The emergency is in effect in 17 of the country's 24 provinces.
Correa caused controversy last August by declaring a state of emergency after a volcanic eruption that included "preventive censorship" of news reports not approved by the authorities.
The latest state of emergency does not include censorship measures.
El Nino causes a spike in extreme weather events such as floods and droughts every two to seven years.
Scientists say the current cycle is the most intense in more than 15 years.