UNHCR increases aid to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

UNHCR increases aid to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

With over 4,000 Venezuelans entering Colombia each day, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) chief Filippo Grandi said Colombia is showing “extraordinary solidarity” towards Venezuelans displaced amid the country’s on-going economic and political crisis. Grandi said after visiting Villa del Rosario on Sunday:

“I am impressed by Colombia’s efforts to document, feed, shelter and care for thousands of Venezuelans arriving every day. This extraordinary solidarity needs more international support.”

UNHCR reports that nearly two million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2015, and some reasons that Venezuelans have cited for leaving include insecurity and violence, lack of access to food, medicine and essential services, as well as a loss of income as a result of the current political and a socio-economic situation.

Grandi added:

“The constant flow of Venezuelans entering Columbia generates monumental challenges to address their humanitarian needs. UNHCR is committed to intensifying our presence and help.”

The increasing number of Venezuelans in Columbia has put a strain on the country’s health care services. To boost capacity, the UNHCR supported the creation of a new health centre in Villa del Rosario. It aims to provide first aid care and family planning services to around 300 people per day, including refuges, migrants and the local community, according to the report.

There are around one million Venezuelans in Colombia as of the most recent report, and local governments have been trying to adjust to that population increase.  Local governments are working to ensure the Venezuelan migrants can legally access essential services, resources, and obtain legal work permits.

According to the UNHCR, Mr. Grandi will follow the flow of Venezuelans in the coming days, from Argentina to Peru and Ecuador, to assess migrant and refugee needs, regional implications, and discuss the best potential approaches to be taken by host countries.  Support from UNHCR has facilitated the availability of medical and legal consultations at centres in areas that many Venezuelans pass through.

The AIDF Global Summit will return to Washington D.C, in 2019. 

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Photo Credit: UNHCR/Fabio Cuttica

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