• Ecuador is the third host country for Venezuelans, with more than 400,000 settling since 2015;

  • Stricter immigration policies and rising xenophobia challenge Venezuelans’ possibilities to cover basic needs, including food, shelter and access to a job;

  • The International Rescue Committee is responding to support 25,000 Venezuelans, covering child protection, gender-based violence prevention, COVID-19 mitigation and other services.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced the launch of operations in Ecuador, expanding their long-standing response to the Venezuela crisis, with the goal of supporting more than 25,000 people within the first 18 months. 

Ecuador is the third host country for Venezuelans: more than 400,000 have settled since 2015. However, during the last years, Venezuelans have encountered greater obstacles to access livelihood opportunities and basic services as consequence of changes in immigration policies, rising levels of xenophobia (56% of people surveyed by IRC affirmed experiencing discrimination at least once) and the impact of COVID-19, which has left more than 740,000 people in need of humanitarian aid.

Marianne Menjivar, Director of the Venezuela Crisis Response at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said:

“Life continues to be extremely difficult for Venezuelans, even after arriving in neighboring countries. While Latin American countries like Ecuador have hosted a vast number—despite insufficient international funding and support—a combination of differing immigration policies, overstretched national systems, and the effects of COVID-19 are putting pressure on their capacity to respond. We call for the international community to allocate enough funding that allows for the development of a comprehensive response to the Venezuela crisis, based on the needs of the population in the places where they are.”

The IRC’s response in Ecuador was designed based on needs identified through an assessment conducted in 2021. In collaboration with local partners—and working with them to share capacities and strengthen the delivery of services—the IRC will respond to critical needs in Guayaquil, Ibarra, Lago Agrio, Machala, Pimampiro, Quito and Tulcán, including:

The main needs identified by the IRC in Ecuador

During 2021, the IRC conducted a needs assessment in Ecuador to inform the expansion of its response to support the most critical needs of Venezuelans. Based on a series of interviews with Venezuelan families across the country, complemented by perspectives of other stakeholders, the IRC identified three main needs:

More on the IRC’s response to the Venezuela crisis

The IRC is on the ground delivering a collective response to support Venezuelans holistically—and timely—where they need most: implementing programming with a mixed model of partnerships with local organizations and direct implementation in Colombia and Ecuador, and providing support for vulnerable populations through local organizations in Venezuela. In 2020, the IRC provided assistance for more than 87,000 Venezuelans.