[SDC’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic] Humanitarian aid in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador

On 11 March the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. As the number of cases of COVID-19 rose, countries declared a state of emergency and lockdown measures (internally and at borders) in order to contain its spread. Originally this measure was to last several weeks, but was then extended for additional weeks, in some cases until June.

In the Andean Region, the health crisis highlighted the lack of biosecurity protocols and deficiencies in health systems, which in certain regions were overwhelmed. COVID-19 eroded countries with fragile policies and economies, and the restrictive containment measures had a direct impact on their economies, especially in the informal sector, in addition to Venezuelan migrants, exacerbating the situation of vulnerability.

Despite the health, financial and social support focused on the most vulnerable communities and governments’ gradual economic reactivation measures in the region, SDC identified unmet humanitarian needs in food security, water and sanitation, preventive health, shelter and protection.

SDC’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Rapid Response Hub in Lima consulted its networks and partners in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, and mapped out their countries’ priority demands, in order to design a humanitarian aid programme to save lives and alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable. The programme implemented four inter-linked interventions in i) food security, ii) biosecurity in shelters, iii) hospital care, iv) water and sanitation, and capacity- building in water and sanitation for municipal technical areas.

Swiss Government support for the international response

In the spirit of solidarity, Switzerland responded fast and effectively, making strategic adjustments to its on-going programmes and taking measures in several countries to alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic.

To date, SDC has contributed CHF 101.42 million to the fight against COVID-19 from the existing budgets of its Humanitarian Aid, Bilateral Development Cooperation and Global Cooperation programmes.

On 29 April, the Federal Council approved an additional CHF 400 million to support international action against the pandemic, granting the International Committee of the Red Cross an interest-free loan of CHF 200 million, CHF 25 million to an International Monetary Fund fast-track credit line, and CHF 175 million for humanitarian aid, the development and production of diagnostics, therapies and vaccines, and efforts to ensure equitable global access to these medical solutions.

SDC’s support in the Andean region

Switzerland focuses its support on three countries in the region, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. It has worked with these countries for over four decades, and made a financial contribution to leading organisations active in the humanitarian field, which have a contract with the SDC office in Lima. This strengthens institutional relations and reflects the Swiss Confederation’s commitment and solidarity.

The strategic role the Swiss embassies in the region play in supporting the Lima Hub for response action should be highlighted, particularly in Ecuador and Bolivia, .

The Lima Hub’s action to tackle COVID-19 has two phases:

Phase 1

Saving lives and alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable groups, including Venezuelan migrants.

For Phase 1, SDC contributed CHF 180,000 (50,000 for Bolivia, 50,000 for Ecuador and 79,000 for Peru), in response to the countries’ priority and urgent needs. Resources were mobilised by directing and re-adjusting the project portfolio, and its approach was subsidiary to the overall multilateral contribution of SDC humanitarian aid in response to the pandemic.

Phase 2

The following factsheets present SDC’s current initiatives in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

In Phase 2, SDC has provided further support to the National Civil Defence Institute (INDECI) with a donation of humanitarian equipment. It is also assessing a supplementary phase for consolidating on-going actions in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

The following factsheets present SDC’s current initiatives in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

SDC Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Peru
Fact sheet (esp / eng)

SDC Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ecuador
Fact sheet (esp eng)

SDC Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Bolivia
Fact sheet (esp eng)

For further information:
Brochure Program for Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Aid


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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.