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

By  Gabriela Sommerfeld  
17 August 2020

Reactivating Galapagos. Photo by: Joshua Vela, CDF.

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: IMG 2

And funds were spent as follows: 

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.

At 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.

Gabriela Sommerfeld
Chair, Covid Relief Committee
On behalf of the Board of Directors

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

Read the entire piece at
https://www.darwinfoundation.org/en/blog-articles/612-covid-19-community-relief-and-safely-reactivating-tourism-in-the-galapagos

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2020

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