Ecuador president declares state of emergency over energy crisis


QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa declared a second state of emergency on Friday over an energy crisis that has already led to rationing in the South American country.

Noboa, who took office in November, had declared an energy emergency and instituted power cuts earlier this week, but the cuts will be suspended on Sunday for a referendum he looks set to win on a raft of security measures.

His first emergency declaration, in January, sought to tame surging crime by allowing more coordination between the military and police.

In Saturday’s 60-day state of emergency, Noboa deployed the military and police to guard energy infrastructure, according to a decree published on his office’s website.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: View of the installations of Ecuador's hydroelectric power station Coca Codo Sinclair in Napo, Ecuador June 1, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Tapia/File Photo

The latest state of emergency is meant to “guarantee the continuity of the public service of electricity,” according to the decree.

A drought caused in part by the climate phenomenon known as El Nino has hit levels at hydroelectric dams, which produce most of Ecuador’s power.