Ecuador: Civil Unrest (MDREC009) DREF Operation Final Report

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

This operation was a response to the extended nationwide social mobilisation, which began in early August 2015. On 2 August 2015, the confederation of indigenous peoples, Kichwas Ecuador Runakunapak Rikcharimuy (ECUARUNARI), had called for a march from provincial communities located in the south and north of the country to converge on the capital city of Quito on 13 August. Once there, the protestors declared a national strike of indefinite duration.

On 14 August the Cotopaxi volcano, located in north-central Ecuador, began erupting. This volcano is located close to the main route to Quito from southern provinces, which was one of the locations with the highest level of participation in the march to the capital city due the emergence of the initial call to national strike from this region and the intersector coordination of the protestors. Since this volcano's eruption was considered to be highly dangerous, the country's authorities immediately changed the alert to yellow and signed a decree declaring a State of Emergency that included a ban on holding mass gatherings near risk areas for a 60-day period. This declaration considerably decreased the tension and uncertainty around the planned national strike.

On 16 September, a smaller national mobilisation took place, which was covered by local Ecuadorian Red Cross staff with support from National Technical Teams in charge of each zone.