The team woke up in Cojimies, Ecuador, to a power cut, and news that the President of Ecuador was visiting Pedernales all day. Guillermo, the team leader, and Major Manuel Querembás set off directly to Pedernales for meetings with a number of officials, and even managed a short meeting with the President!
The rest of the team headed to Chamanga, a badly hit fishing town north of Pedernales. Seb ran a short workshop of the use of bamboo in structures, with the community leaders in attendance. The rest of the team surveyed the damage to structures, and the geo team focused on the movement of land, particularly along the coast line. One of the community leaders told us that the sea front was built on reclaimed land from the mangrove which extended out to the sea. There was a lot of movement in the ground and structures there.
The team then headed to reunite with Guillermo and Manuel in Pedernales in the canteen we ate in yesterday. We arrived and faced a police cordon; apparently the president was planning eating at our restaurant! So we turned sat next door and had lunch and a few minutes later a big convoy of flashing lights pulled up and the president jumped out. He greeted onlookers before heading into the restaurant, and the EEFIT team were invited to join him, so Guillermo and Manuel joined him and the rest headed off to survey some coastal landslide movement, and the main municipality building which had heavy non-structural damage, but appeared to suffer only light or possibly moderate damage, primary caused by the infill masonry walls.
This is something we keep on seeing all over this coastal region of the country, that the stiff infill masonry walls have suffered considerable damage, and have often caused structural damage. This is a key lesson that needs to be learnt for the reconstruction of damaged or demolished buildings: the use of infill masonry walls need to be carefully considered.
The team then headed south to Canoa to spend the night. Tomorrow we will spend some time in Bahía de Caráquez, and will then spend the afternoon writing. We have a lot of data and thoughts to compile before we release a preliminary report just after our trip ends.