Ecuador told the United Nations that the funding it received to take care of Colombian refugees displaced by internal conflict is not enough. The Andean nation also expressed concern over the “weak border” with Colombia.
Ecuadorean Minister of Security Miguel Carvajal said that approximately 135,000 Colombian refugess are in Ecuador, half of which don’t live in refugee camps but in local communities close to the border.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) granted US$23 million in funding to Ecuador in 2008 for support programs for these local communities. Ecuador says that this funding, intended to extned until 2011, will not last that long.
According to Carvajal, Ecuador spends between US$39 and $50 million a year on services for Colombia refugees, El Tiempo reported.
Carvajal also said that security and military costs are huge in order to reinforce Ecuador’s border with Colombia.
“At least US$100 million a year, not counting the expenses that Ecuador incurred following the Colombian raid,” he said, referring to Colombia’s incursion onto Ecuadorean territory in pursuit of FARC leader Raul Reyes, which led to the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries.