Cuenca is abuzz today with news of two tsunamis. One is the freshly incoming set of waves from the earthquake in Japan this morning, and the other has been a simmering wave of incoming expats fanned into a tsunami by the local grapevine. While both are serious, neither is going to be as big as their hype.
On the true Japanese tsunami warning front, the earthquake in Japan will be affecting Ecuador. President Correa has issued evacuation notices for the Galapagos Islands, and coastal resident are being urged to seek higher ground in anticipation of heavy waves hitting Ecuador beginning sometime between 5 and 8 pm this evening. The President’s statement to the nation included a note that nothing may actually happen, but for the next 60 days a state of emergency awareness will be maintained as a preventative measure.
More locally, in talking with teachers who have students still on Carnavel holiday in the Galapagos, the state of the islands is wary but fine. Facebook updates are frequent and you can search Twitter for the latest commentary in English and Spanish. To the few souls who inquired if we were safe in Cuenca, a gentle reminder that we are at more than 8,200 feet above sea level and not likely to be affected.
On the secondary tsunami front, rumors have big waves of incoming expats on the horizon. When we first heard how many gringos were going to move to Cuenca by 2015, it was 15,000. By the time the rumor wave hit us again, it was up to 40,000 norteamericanos coming in the next four years. “From where?” we ask, and that’s where things begin to break down.
This rumor has been repeatedly debunked, and no authoritative originating source can be located. The current full-time expat population in Cuenca is estimated to be between 1,500 – 2,000 souls from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Europe, based on data from the US embassy’s most recent warden recruitment drive. There are perhaps an equal number of part-time residents and tourists in town any given week. While we do expect that Cuenca will remain a popular destination in the years ahead, there is no crushing gringo tsunami on its way. Nice rentals do go fast and we do see seasonal surges, but with a total population of 500,000, Cuenca has plenty of room for new residents.Share on Facebook