Since 2013, Venezuela has been hit by a serious economic, political and social crisis. This has limited access to healthcare, sanitation and food, and significantly increased humanitarian needs. At least 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled to countries around the world, of whom 2.7 million to Latin America and the Caribbean. They include more than one million people in Colombia.
In November 2018, HI assessed the needs of migrants in La Guajira, a crossing point into northern Colombia, in conjunction with the NGO DRC (Danish Refugee Council).
Since April 2019, HI has provided psychological support to migrants in the Maicao transit centre on the border with Venezuela.
In conjunction with the NGOs DRC and Pastoral Social (Caritas Colombia), HI also plans to provide rehabilitation care to the most vulnerable individuals, including people with disabilities, older people and indigenous groups, and technical assistance such as training to local rehabilitation organisations, and to organise social cohesion activities for Colombians and Venezuelans in order to promote peaceful understanding between the different communities.
Assisting Venezuelans in Medellín
HI has also launched an emergency response in Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, in conjunction with Medellín city council. The organisation provides support to more than 1000 Venezuelans, including psychological assistance and legal advice on accessing basic services, such as healthcare. HI also organises sports, cultural and other activities to strengthen the social cohesion and socio-cultural inclusion of migrants in Medellín.