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Ecuador & Peru: Human Mobility Border Closure (COVID-19 Context) - Information Bulletin No. 1

Situation Report
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The Situation

The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the emigration of people from Venezuela, as well as the continual movement of migrants to and between neighbouring countries. Some of the push factors for migration from Venezuela include the lack of access to services, protection, livelihood and health among others. The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (R4V) forecasts that the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants could rise to 8.13 million in 2021.

Based on the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the profile of the Venezuelan population in human mobility has evolved over time shifting from the initial profile of individual men to the current characteristics of migrants that include families with several members, including children and adolescents, pregnant and nursing women, people with chronic conditions, people with physical and mental disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

A January 2021 Refugee and Migrant Working Group (GTRM) report highlighted that 72 per cent of migrants and refugees currently in the northern Peruvian department of Tumbes plan to stay in the country. 3 This report also points out that 82 per cent of these migrants were part of families, while 82 percent indicated that they had a support network in Peru.

With the increase of positive cases of COVID-19 in Latin America in recent months, a second wave of the pandemic, some governments have issues new measures to restrict mobility to contain the spread of the virus. This situation affects people in a situation of human mobility, principally Venezuelan migrants.

On 26 January 2021, the Peruvian president announced new measures that would be implemented as of 31 January. That same day, the Peruvian government reported that it had deployed 1,200 troops of the armed forces, as well as national police, to control the more than 30 irregular crossing points between Ecuador and Peru.

On 27 January 2021, the Ecuadorian government deployed its armed forces along the Ecuadorian side of the Peruvian- Ecuadorian border in the area between Puerto Hualtaco to La Represa parishes in Chacras canton (El Oro department) with the aim to intensify surveillance of irregular crossing points used by migrants.

According to news reports, the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Armed Forces met in mid-January to plan the sealing off of the land border between the two countries to prevent irregular passing of migrants within the context of measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The GTRM in Huaquillas issued a flash update on 2 February that indicated an increase of people in the city, averaging approximately 400 people daily, since 25 January.