Ecuador + 1 more

UNHCR Ecuador Biweekly Update, 22 February - 8 March 2021

Situation Report
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Operational context

COVID-19: Confirmed cases have surpassed 300.000 nationwide. Ecuador’s Ministry of Public Health created a website to release the vaccination plan, aiming to vaccinate 60% of the population in four phases. The platform allows for people included in phase one (health personnel, older persons (>65), public security staff, professors, persons with disabilities, waste recyclers) to register for obtaining a vaccination date. Recognized refugees holding an Ecuadorian IDcard will be able to register, but there are concerns that the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and Venezuelans with irregular migratory status may be excluded.

POPULATION MOVEMENTS: UNHCR and partners identify 500 - 600 Venezuelan caminantes entering daily through visible paths during working hours, although numbers might be higher as many cross the border in private transport at night. Additionally, 44 Haitians arrived in Ecuador from Brazil and Perú through the Tiputini river (Amazon region) and then went to Orellana. Local authorities and humanitarian organizations provided shelter, food, and other basic needs.
UNHCR is in contact with the group, and they intend to reach North America.

PROTECTION CONCERNS: The security situation at the northern border has deteriorated. Community leaders informed UNHCR that the presence of Colombian irregular groups has increased. As a consequence, an “informal” curfew applies at 6:00 p.m. in some communities. In Esmeraldas and Sucumbíos, Ecuadorian armed forces have discovered a clandestine drug laboratory, coca plantations, firearms and ammunition. This has generated fear and internal displacement.
Xenophobia against Venezuelan refugees and migrants is increasing. Near Otavalo, community leaders requested the eviction of 34 Venezuelans due to alleged increased criminality. In Tulcán, the high number of families with children sleeping on the streets continues to cause complaints among the host community, who have also asked for humanitarian organizations to relocate.