Refugees and COVID-19: The View From Ecuador

By Max J. Rosenthal,


For years, HIAS Ecuador has helped many refugees from Colombia, Venezuela, and other countries find safety and even a measure of prosperity. But with COVID-19 hitting Ecuador particularly hard — the country has South America's highest overall rate of death from COVID-19, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control — some of those people have lost their jobs, run through their savings, and come back to HIAS for help once more. Sabrina Lustgarten, HIAS' country director in Ecuador, estimates that some 20 percent of former HIAS clients have been forced to ask for assistance again. HIAS Ecuador offers a range of services, from cash to meet refugees' basic needs to mental-health support and training programs designed to help students start businesses and escape extreme poverty. In this video, Lustgarten explains what refugees are facing because of the pandemic and how HIAS is mobilizing to help them.

You can follow all of the latest news about HIAS' work during the coronavirus on our COVID-19 response page.

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