More than 4 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2014 because of political strife, human rights abuses and lack of economic opportunity. The vast majority are finding refuge in neighboring countries. This is the largest exodus in the recent history of Latin America.
People are fleeing Venezuela in an attempt to escape widespread violence and poverty. Safety concerns, hunger and high inflation after an economic collapse have left millions extremely vulnerable. More than 390,000 have sought asylum since 2014 – 232,000 in 2018 alone.
Venezuelans are fleeing to countries all across Latin America and the Caribbean with the largest number of people finding safety and refuge in Colombia, Brazil and Peru. Approximately 1.3 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia – many crossing the Simon Bolivar International Bridge – a route that some 30,000 people cross every day.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has stepped up relief efforts throughout the region. Working with the Colombian government, UNHCR has supported the registration of 440,000 Venezuelans. UNHCR-supported facilities in Colombia are helping serve thousands of meals each day and providing psychiatric care to people in need. In Brazil, UNHCR has supported the construction of more than a dozen temporary shelters, providing site planning management and humanitarian aid items.
The crisis in Venezuela threatens to leave an entire generation of children displaced and suffering from trauma. Increasingly, children are fleeing alone and there are more reported instances of children being separated from their parents. In Colombia, the government is allowing Venezuelan children to attend school, but with Venezuelans crossing the border every day, access to schools will continue to be a challenge.
UNHCR is working to scale up humanitarian assistance in the region anticipating that more than 5 million total Venezuelans will have fled by the end of 2019. Local integration, employment opportunities and access to education will continue to be challenges for displaced Venezuelans. UNHCR is working with governments in the region to ensure refugees are accepted safely to host communities.
Resolve to help refugees in 2019...
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