Ecuador Crisis Response Plan 2020

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IOM Vision

In 2020, IOM, in coordination with national and local partners, will enhance the preparedness and response capacity of communities to disasters caused by natural hazards by implementing a disaster risk management plan focusing on capacity building of affected and at-risk communities, where migrants and local populations live side by side.

Context Analysis

Ecuador is exposed to extreme weather conditions and frequent natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcano eruptions that affect both local populations and migrants living in the country.

Eruption activity of Cotopaxi volcano started in 2015 and continues to pose a threat: a new eruption is expected in the coming years. The danger of Cotopaxi is that its eruptions can lead to the formation of huge lahars (mudflows and debris) that would pass through neighbouring drains to densely populated areas. According to an assessment made by the Escuela Politécnica Nacional, in 2019, it has been estimated that currently, more than 300,000 people live in areas threatened by lahars in case of repeated eruptions similar to those that occurred in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The report mentions that the lahars would reach heights between 10 and 12 meters. Additionally, the fall of ash produced during a Cotopaxi eruption could affect a very significant part of the Sierra and the Coast of Ecuador.

Ecuador is also located in an area of intense seismic activity and, in 2016, Ecuador was hit by an earthquake that affected the coastal areas of the provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas, killing 670 people and leaving more than 30,000 people homeless. In addition to the aforementioned, Ecuador is affected regularly by El Niño, the consequences are large floods and landslides in several areas of the country. Currently, Ecuador is facing heavy rains that are affecting cities in different regions of the country. There is a weak culture of risk prevention in the country, so many people do not know how to act in the event of a disaster occurs; therefore, capacity building on aspects related to prevention and response to natural disasters is imperative in Ecuador.