Spanish contribution allows continued food assistance to Colombian refugees in Ecuador

Published on 13 March 2007

A contribution of more than US$395,000 from the Government of Spain to WFP will allow the UN agency to continue providing humanitarian assistance to almost 8,000 Colombian nationals in Ecuador who have fled the conflict in their home country.

A contribution of more than US$395,000 from the Government of Spain to WFP will allow the UN agency to continue providing humanitarian assistance to almost 8,000 Colombian nationals in Ecuador who have fled the conflict in their home country.

Thanks to this new donation from the Government of Spain we are able to continue the operation and guarantee the food security of the refugees

Helmut Rauch, WFP Representative in Ecuador

“I would like to thank AECI (the Spanish International Cooperation Agency), the Spanish Government, and the people of Spain for this significant donation. It will greatly help the Colombian refugees – especially the most vulnerable – get on with their lives until the situation at home becomes more stable,” said Helmut Rauch, WFP Representative in Ecuador.

Refugees

Refugees entering Ecuador are concentrated primarily in the border provinces of Esmeraldas, Sucumbíos, Carchi, Imbabura and Pichincha.

In 2005, the Government of Ecuador, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and WFP developed an operation to address the needs of the Colombian refugees.

Since August 2005, WFP has been distributing monthly food rations to 6,300 people.

Extension

Although the operation was initially planned to last one year, the increasing flow of Colombian nationals seeking refuge from the conflict made it necessary to extend the operation for an additional eight months, expanding the number of beneficiaries by 1,200 people.

For WFP, the cost of this extension is approximately US$800,000.

“Thanks to this new donation from the Government of Spain we are able to continue the operation and guarantee the food security of the refugees,” said Rauch.

Potential friction

“We intend to give food assistance to a total of 7,500 people. This will allow the refugees to live with dignity and also help to avoid potential friction between them and the local border-area population who themselves are living in difficult conditions”, Rauch added.

Compared to the rest of the country, the border zone suffers from lower social indicators in health, education, basic services and security.