Ecuador: "The River Waters Rose Up To Here"
This is the Onzole River, which runs through the Esmeraldas province in Ecuador, which is mostly populated by Afro-descendants.
Everything looks very calm today, but this place was the scene of heavy flooding in April and May.
The signs of heavy flooding are still visible in the banks of the Onzole River.
Meet Melanie (left) and her sister sitting in the main room. This house has been flooded three times this year: twice in April and once in May. Notice in the background Melanie’s small shop.
“The river waters rose up to here,” says Melanie. In the past her shop would allow her to earn US$50 in a good day, but now she barely makes US$20 yet her costs are around US$200 per week.
Melanie looks after four other women in her home, including her 97-year-old mother and four-year-old granddaughter. In April Melanie and her family received food assistance from WFP in cooperation with the Borbon municipality. Of the products delivered in the food basket, her family especially appreciated the sugar because she generally is not able to afford it, and the beans, since Melanie knows a number of different ways to prepare them and her mother likes the way she cooks beans.
WFP staff came to the community of Onzoles to follow up on past food distributions and to monitor the food security status of the community affected by floods.
April and May brought the heaviest rains and flooding seen in Ecuador over the last 30 years. WFP provided critical food assistance to the affected people, including those living in a community along the Onzole River. However, Melanie and her family still live fear as the rainy season is far from over in the Esmeraldas province.