Ecuador Again in State of Emergency, This Time in Energy Sector

In January 2024, Ecuador’s young President Daniel Noboa issued a decree declaring a state of emergency in the country for 60 days as he launched a crackdown on criminal groups that were undermining the country’s security. Now a new 60-day state of national emergency has been declared, this time due to an energy crisis, which has affected Ecuador with prolonged blackouts that have left large areas without power for up to eight hours.

The cause is to be sought in the period of prolonged drought affecting Latin America. In this particular case, the low basin level prevents the hydroelectric plants needed to power the country from operating at full capacity.

Noboa ordered, according to Italian news agency ANSA, “the mobilization and intervention of the national police and armed forces throughout the country to guarantee the security of critical energy infrastructures to prevent sabotage, terrorist attacks, or other threats that could compromise their functioning” and to guarantee the continuity of public electricity supply.

The drought affecting the area is also caused by the El Niño climate phenomenon; the drought has also affected countries such as Colombia, which in turn is having trouble generating power from hydroelectric plants, and Panama, further north, where traffic has been backed up for months due to a water crisis, which has affected the artificial lakes that feed the canal locks.