Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Venezuelan crisis has not gone away

As always when the media headlines disappears, the problem rarely disappears.

Funding of $1.35 billion will be needed to provide healthcare, education, nutrition and other services to Venezuelan migrants and to help their hosts in 2020. 

Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative of the UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, told Reuters international contributions needed to be doubled.

Aid needs are growing not just because there are increasing numbers of migrants, he added, but because conditions in Venezuela continue to worsen.

Colombia has borne the brunt of the exodus. It is now home to more than 1.4 million Venezuelans, many of whom arrived with little money and in desperate need of basic services. The number of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia is going to sharply increase next year, the organizations said, to 2.4 million, in tandem with a possible increase of total Venezuelan migrants to 6.5 million by the end of 2020. Colombia has repeatedly lamented a lack of funding for Venezuelans, saying other humanitarian crises in Syria, South Sudan and Myanmar have received many times more in donations. 

Care for migrants costs Colombia around half a percentage point of its gross domestic product, or about $1.5 billion, annually. Unlike its neighbors, Colombia has not imposed stringent immigration requirements on Venezuelans, instead encouraging migrants who entered the country informally to register with authorities so they can have access to social services. Colombia has also said it will give citizenship to more than 24,000 children born to Venezuelan parents to prevent them from being stateless.

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