It is estimated that 4.5 million Venezuelans have now left their country, fleeing a profound economic and political crisis. The UN predicts that by the end of 2019 this figure will reach 5.3 million, and by 2020 to around 8 million. This crisis would then be the largest forced migration crisis in the world. Columbia is hosting the largest number of Venezuelans – currently more than 1 million …
Eight Integral Members are involved in this crisis, either operationally or providing funding support and medicines (see this infographic for details). Although an Integral alert has not yet been raised for this crisis, Integral is facilitating sharing information across the alliance. This raises awareness of urgent humanitarian needs, as well as increasing prayer and possible funding support for Members with work on the ground. Integral collaboration for this crisis also includes sharing photos and stories for fundraising appeals.
Betsy Baldwin, Director of Humanitarian Response at Medical Teams International, comments, “Despite the lack of refugee status, this is becoming one of the biggest forced migration crises in the world. As the region struggles to manage this additional burden, additional restrictions on movement are being put in place by a number of States. This impacts on Colombia primarily, which continues to host the lion’s share of the displaced population. As expected, despite the government’s best efforts, this is placing huge strain on basic services and tensions are rising between the host community and migrants.”
She continues, “Furthermore, this crisis has not really reached a tipping point as a high profile humanitarian crisis, despite displacement numbers being just lower than the number displaced from Syria. So funding is low, and the coordination of the country specific and regional response is weak.”
Klaas-Jan Baas, Corporate Communication Coordinator with one of our Dutch Members, ZOA, says, “This crisis is getting worse every day in two ways – people continue to flee the deepening crisis in Venezuela and the problems for the refugee-receiving countries are therefore growing. At the same time, there is very little media attention which makes fundraising very challenging indeed. A lot of funding is still needed. UNHCR communicated last week that only 52% of all NGO projects have received proper funding.”
He continues, “Integral Members in Colombia are doing a great job – where it is possible we are working together and are complementing each other’s strengths.”