Covid-19 Community Relief and Safely Reactivating Tourism in the Galapagos

In March of this year, the Ecuadorian government declared a health emergency because of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. As in the rest of the world, this decision paralyzed most of the industries and economic production, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, thus avoiding massive infections that could collapse the health systems of the different cities and towns in Ecuador, especially in the Galápagos. We are now more than 100 days without tourism in the islands with the prospect of a gradual and slow recovery. This declaration disproportionately impacted the Galapagos Province, where 70% of the population lives on tourism, profoundly impacting the livelihoods and well-being of the local people.

In support of the community, we would like to invite our partners and friends in the travel industry to help Ecuador in its battle against Covid-19, so that travel, conservation and economic activity can start again. 

As a longstanding member of the community, the Charles Darwin Foundation immediately authorized a Community Relief Fund to support local authorities in strengthening laboratory and hospital facilities and to support the community not only during the pandemic, but also after it. The board launched an appeal to donors and friends to contribute to this important campaign.

As a result, the following funds were obtained:

DESCRIPTION

AMOUNT (USD)

Relief fund (CDF unrestricted funds)

55.000,00

CDF Staff Donation

5.870,00

Ms. Kristin Hettermann & Mr. Sven Lindblad

50.000,00

JAGA  (Japanese Association for Galapagos)

4.600,00

Other Community  Relief Fund Donations

3.376,61

Other Contributions 

176,51

Mark Bauman Donation: 500 N-95 Masks

NA 

TOTAL

119.023,12

 

And funds were spent as follows:

INSTITUTION

DESCRIPTION

AMOUNT (USD)

ABG  (Galapagos Biosecurity Agency)

Thermocycler  (PCR  testing equipment)

46.005,12

ABG 

666 PCR Test kits,  1 ARN extractor kit for 50 samples

 8.876,00

COE  (Emergency Operations Committee) 

16 Sheets ¬ Pillowcases

 NA

CGREG  (Galapagos Governing Council)

2 ICU Ventilators

 41.776,00

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

200 N-95 Masks

 N/A

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

70 Biosecurity Suits

 862,40

CGREG 

100 Food kits for Galapagueños in mainland 

 2.000,00

CGREG 

100 Food Kits for residents in Santa Cruz

 2.546,43

GAD SANTA CRUZ

16 Hospital Mattresses

 3.082,24

GAD SANTA CRUZ

50 Safety Suits

 2.461,80

ABG 

Swabs and cyotubes (3000)

 2.441,60

ABG 

100 Safety Suits

 1.232,00

ABG 

80 N-95 Masks

 NA

CGREG 

Medicine

 1.740,78

CNT 

6 P Safety Suits 

 NA

GNPD (Galapagos National Park Directorate)

200 Safety Suits 

 2.508,00

COMMUNITY  MEMBERS (Vulnerable groups in Santa Cruz and Isabela)

250 Food kits

 4.537,12

 

Logistics & Transportation

983,75

  TOTAL 

121.059,46

 

Additionally, the CDF provided support with the loan of a pick-up truck for the COE of Galapagos, the delivery of a protective tent to Proinsular; the creation of materials for a biosafety campaign for ABG, as well as water conservation campaigns. CDF also provided technical support on georeferencing data (economic and health), and georeferencing of variables during COVID19 and provided expert advice.

Throughout the pandemic, our directors, staff, collaborators and donors have been attentive to maintaining an effective direct collaboration with the Galapagos community. Starting July 1, 2020, tourism was reopened in the Galapagos Islands under a strict biosecurity protocol. Yet, the emergency is not over, and good monitoring and control of the spread of the virus requires the support of all of us who are part of daily life on the islands.

The CDF is now launching a second campaign asking for donors to support local community relief.  We invite you, our partners and friends in the travel industry, to help Ecuador in its battle against Covid, supporting the local community with the ultimate goal of restarting the travel, conservation and economic activity that is so vital to the Archipelago. This time, funds are being requested to provide PCR tests so that the Agency for Biosecurity and Quarantine for the Galapagos (ABG) can continue the work it has been doing in the Islands to effectively stop the spread of this disease. If you are interested in contributing in collaboration in this program to maintain the health and safety of the Galapagos and its inhabitants, we request to visit our donation page.

Thank you all, in advance, for your incredible generosity.

 

Gabriela Sommerfeld

Chair

Covid Relief Committee

On behalf of the Board of Directors

Photo by: Joshua Vela Fonseca, CDF
Reactivating Galapagos. Staff from the Municipality of Santa Cruz carry out street cleaning. Photo by: Joshua Vela Fonseca, CDF

 

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

© 2020 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.