The San Pablo de Amali Community
The goal of this project is to replace a 15-foot-long vehicular bridge that was once a vital resource for the San Pablo de Amali community in Bolívar, Ecuador. The former bridge was poorly constructed, and therefore washed out in a high flow incident in February 2017. The community was denied assistance from the local government, and ever since, San Pablo de Amali has restricted access to health centers, marketplaces, and secondary schools. They have resorted to building temporary crossings that are only capable of withstanding the mild, dry season conditions. In each rainy season between January and April, however, these temporary solutions wash away and the community is left stranded in hazardous conditions. Furthermore, the scope of this project is not limited to San Pablo de Amali, for the bridge is a resource used by all of Chillanes county. The crossing is a component of the primary route in the county for travel from the mountainous region of Ecuador to the coast. Hence, many bus routes travelling on this road are diverted for a large portion of the year, further limiting the community’s access to numerous resources.
The community leadership council agreed that this vehicular bridge is San Pablo de Amali’s primary need. Without a durable bridge, the community is stranded for months in hazardous conditions, isolated from the medical, economic, and educational resources needed to maintain a high quality of life. Therefore, the Johns Hopkins Chapter of Engineers Without Borders has partnered with San Pablo de Amali in an effort to provide a durable bridge that can sustain the harsh rainy seasons for years to come.