Quito, Ecuador, March 4, 2022 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced the expansion of its current response in Ecuador to support Venezuelans and families affected by flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains in Quito in early February.
According to city officials, 24 people died, about 50 people were injured, at least one person remains missing, and the homes of about 107 families were either completely destroyed or suffered extreme damage. The communities of La Gasca and Comuna, which were particularly affected by this disaster, are places where Venezuelans have resettled in recent years.
Marianne Menjivar, IRC’s Director for Venezuela Response, said:
“More than 400,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Ecuador in recent years, having had to leave their country of origin. Even after their arrival in neighboring countries, life continues to be extremely difficult for them. Venezuelans face xenophobia and barriers to accessing regularization and protection systems, which become obstacles to accessing formal employment to cover their most basic needs (including housing) and even expose them to operational risk.
“When natural disasters strike, they disproportionately affect low-income communities, in this case Venezuelan families. With national systems already overstretched, securing international funding is essential to continue meeting the most urgent humanitarian needs of Venezuelans, including those caused by the impact of climate change.
The IRC worked closely with Ecuadorian authorities and local partners to ensure a rapid and effective response. After assessing the damaged areas, the IRC is deploying the following resources to support 200 Venezuelan and Ecuadorian families whose homes have been destroyed or whose loved ones have been affected in different ways:
- Financial assistance for families to cover basic needs, including food, medicine, funeral expenses and home repairs related to damage caused by heavy rains.
- Economic support for Chamos, a local NGO that provides free healthcare and education to Venezuelan communities. Chamos premises were directly affected by the landslides and at the time of the emergency, they lacked the resources to provide emergency care to communities.
As part of its longstanding response to the Venezuelan crisis, the IRC launched operations in Ecuador in 2021 to support Venezuelans comprehensively and in a timely manner where they need it most, including access at :
- Versatile cash transfers combined with financial education and security training.
- Food security, through the delivery of food kits for households and the direct supply of hot meals in community canteens to fight against hunger.
- Protection issues, including GBV prevention and child protection activities as well as case management for vulnerable populations.
- Early Childhood Development, creating safe spaces for children ages 0-5, involving educators and caregivers in the process.
- Health, strengthening COVID-19 prevention measures through the delivery of personal protective equipment kits, which represent a high cost for vulnerable populations.
Learn more about the IRC’s response to the Venezuelan crisis
The IRC is on the ground to provide a collective response to support Venezuelans in a comprehensive and timely manner where they need it most: implementing programming with a blended model of partnerships with local organizations and implementation directly in Colombia, Ecuador and now Peru, and providing support to vulnerable populations through local organizations in Venezuela. In 2020, the IRC provided assistance to over 87,000 Venezuelans.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore the health, safety, education, economic well-being and power of people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC works in more than 40 countries and more than 20 American cities to help people survive, regain control of their future and strengthen their communities. . Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC at Twitter & Facebook.