Emergency Response in Arauca (ERA)

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Background Narrative

Arauca is the main municipality of the north-eastern Colombian Department of the same name. Located south of the Arauca River, it is connected to Venezuela by the José Antonio Páez International Bridge. The city of Arauca is the principal urban settlement in Colombia along the Libertadores highway, which joins the capital cities of Bogotá and Caracas. A progressively deteriorating political and economic situation in neighboring Venezuela over the last year has motivated an exodus of people to Colombia in one of the biggest migration crises in Latin American history. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are pouring into Colombia, overwhelming small communities in border municipalities like Arauca, which are seeing their social infrastructure, services, and economy collapse. Urgent action is needed to save lives and meet both immediate alleviation and long-term resilience needs.

Under the Emergency Response in Arauca (ERA) program, ACDI/VOCA tackled the most pressing needs in two settlements of the Municipality of Arauca, Colombia. We mobilized a response to the need for drinking water and improved environmental health, and introduced resilience activities related to hygiene, food security, and protection.

ERA provided immediate relief and reduced the vulnerability of families living in these settlements through a combination of response, risk reduction, and preparedness activities that also built community resilience. ERA worked with 715 households, and activities supported over 2,000 Colombian residents and Venezuelan migrants to restore their dignity and improve their quality of life. ERA interventions focused on people most directly affected in the informal settlements.

  • WASH: Reduced morbidity and mortality associated with consumption of contaminated water and precarious hygiene conditions.
  • Agriculture and Food Security: Improved availability and sustainable production of food.
  • Protection: Promoted individual and collective resilience to cope with current circumstances and helped restoration of social cohesion.
    The ACDI/VOCA team provided immediate relief and reduced the vulnerability of the two settlements through a combination of response, risk reduction, and preparedness activities to build community resilience. Activities included a combination of in-kind donations, value vouchers, workshops, and technical assistance. We worked closely with the central, departmental, and local government agencies, international agencies and NGOs, local NGOs, and other stakeholders to increase community capacity for crisis response and mitigation.
  • 1,379 people directly utilizing improved water sources provided with OFDA funding
  • 3,014 people received improved service quality from solid waste management, drainage or vector control activities
  • 74.5 percent of households targeted by the hygiene promotion program found to have soap and water at a designated handwashing location
  • 1,802 received non-food item vouchers
  • 1,741 people directly benefitted from improving agricultural production and/or food security activities
  • 213 household gardens developed or improved due to project assistance
  • 1,320 individuals participating in psychosocial support services
  • 3,916 ERA direct project beneficiaries

Contact: Yamil A. Roger Nasser at yroger@acdivoca.org