Ecuador: Floods DREF operation no. MDREC003


GLIDE no. FL-2008-000018-ECU

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 110,000 (USD 101,852 or EUR 68,323) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the National Society in delivering immediate assistance to some 15,220 beneficiaries (3,044 families). Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.


Since January 2008, continuous rain in Ecuador leading to floods, has severely affected some 315,000 people (63,000 families) in various provinces of the country. The Federation has released CHF 110,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to contribute to the Ecuadorian Red Cross actions in the field.

This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will therefore be completed by 25 May, 2008; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 25 August, 2008).

The situation

Since January 2008, continuous rainfall has affected several provinces in Ecuador due to the climatic phenomena known as La Niña. The annual Ecuadorian rainy season that starts in December and continues until the end of May caused flooding before, but the effect of the El Niño and la Niña phenomenon on the climate in the southern hemisphere is profound and has worsened the effects of the rainy season. The most affected coastal provinces are: Los Rios, Manabí, el Oro, Guyas, and the most affected Andean provinces are Chimborazo, Azuay and la Loja.

The heavy rainfall that continues up to date, caused many rivers to overflow, which led to the collapse of the drainage systems in various cities in the lower rural areas, causing even more flooding. Recent government reports indicate that the floods have caused the deaths of 16 people, while another 315,000 people have been affected. 13,500 people are currently staying in shelters, while 100,000 people need direct assistance.

Infrastructure, housing, agriculture and health-, electrical-, and communication systems have been severely damaged by the flooding. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that some 50 percent of the crops have been damaged and some 271,000 hectares of land are flooded. Bananas, cacao, sugar, rice and corn crops are the most affected.

As the rainy season has not yet ended, more rains are expected. This could possibly increase the immediate humanitarian needs, as well as the longer-term needs due to the effects of the floods on crops and livelihoods.

The President of Ecuador has declared a national state of emergency and has requested international assistance. The Ecuadorian government organized national coordination meetings in order to develop a plan of action and map available resources. The Coastal Ministry has prioritized the sectors of social protection, infrastructure, early recovery and strengthening of capacities. The Regional Emergency Operation Centre (Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia - COE), established and located in Guayaquil under the auspices of the Coastal Ministry, is collecting information from the provincial COEs.

Three United Nations Technical Emergency Mechanism (UNETE) missions were deployed to the affected area between 7 - 22 February. According to the initial assessments of these teams there is a need for sanitation activities, psychological support, improvement of shelters, tents, and water quality control. A United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was requested by the Ecuadorian government and has been deployed to the affected area.

Coordination and partnerships

Since the onset of the disaster, the Ecuadorian Red Cross (ERC) has been in regular contact with the Regional Representation for South America based in Lima and the Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) in Panama. The ERC is working in close coordination with the Civil Defence, local and provincial authorities and other humanitarian organization present in the affected area.

The ERC receives support from the American and the Spanish Red Cross; both Partner National Societies (PNS) are providing non food relief items, such as jerry cans, plastic sheeting and a generator.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is assisting in strengthening the emergency response coordination of the Ministry of Health. A UNETE mission composed by International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), PAHO, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is currently in the field, working on health, food, logistics, shelter, water and sanitation, agriculture and coordination.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Ecuadorian Red Cross immediately updated their contingency plan and determined the lines of primary support. The branches in the affected region responded swiftly to the disaster with evacuation and search and rescue operations, needs assessment, provision of primary health care and clean water.

A plan of action has been put together by the ERC with support from the Federation. In the second stage of the emergency, in coordination with the government and other humanitarian organizations present in the area, the ERC is planning to provide food relief, hygiene kits, continuous provision of clean water and water and sanitation activities.

The Federation has released CHF 110,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to contribute to the Ecuadorian Red Cross emergency response actions in the field. The DREF funds will also allow the strengthening of the Ecuadorian Red Cross local Branches, each of which will be provided with basic resources for the 275 volunteers. Furthermore, in order to provide clean water to the affected population, the funds will allow the ERC to install three water treatment plants for a period of three months.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Quito: Felipe Bazan, Relief Director, Ecuadorian Red Cross; e-mail;; phone (593) 2 2957 256, (593) 9 2437 515, ext. 214 - 227

In Panama: Dario Alvarez, Acting Head of PADRU; email:, phone: (507) 316 1001 or 6679-4997; Fax: (507) 316-1082.

In Peru: Giorgio Ferrario, Regional Representative of the Regional Representation for South America,, phone (511) 221 8151; fax (511) 441 3607.

In Panama: Maria Alcazar, Resource Mobilization Coordinator, Americas Zone; email:; phone: (507) 380 0250; fax: (507) 317 1304.

In Geneva: Pablo Medina, Operations Coordinator for the Americas; email; phone: phone (41) 79 2173376; fax: (41) 22 730 0395.