Saturday, December 15, 2018

Venezuela - a humanitarian earthquake

 An estimated two million Venezuelans could join the ranks of migrants and refugees next year, swelling the total to 5.3 million, the United Nations said on Friday.

About 5,000 Venezuelans flee their homeland daily, down from a peak of 13,000 in August, said Eduardo Stein, a joint special representative for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Stein described the two million figure as a planning estimate for migrants and refugees leaving for neighbouring countries in the next 14 months who will need aid. 

"The region had to respond to an emergency that in some areas of concern was almost similar to a massive earthquake. We are indeed facing a humanitarian earthquake," he told a news briefing.

About 3.3 million Venezuelans have fled the political and economic crisis in their homeland, most since 2015, the UNHCR said. About 365,000 of them have sought asylum, U.N. refugee boss Filippo Grandi said. 
"The reasons these people left are ranging from pure hunger to violence and lack of security ... We at UNHCR believe many have valid reasons to seek international protection," he said.
Colombia has taken in one million Venezuelan nationals, with most others going to Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.

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