Since 2013, the Venezuelan crisis has displaced millions of people inside and outside the country. According to the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) of the United Nations of July 2020, more than 5 million Venezuelans have fled to border countries. Colombia welcomed 1.8 million of them. This influx of people is generating major pressure on the Colombian society, already weakened by a long-term internal crisis.
After 50 years of armed conflict that killed more than 8 million people, in November 2016, Colombia signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC), a guerrilla group involved in the continuing Colombian conflict. The arrival of Venezuelan refugees places the burden of their reception on Colombia, which has serious economic and social consequences. Also, the increase of the COVID-19 cases, exceeding one million infected people, fueling this xenophobic sentiment. Finally, drug trafficking fuels the presence of illegal armed groups and is in fact an obstacle to security stabilization.
Description of the mission
Since January 2019, Première Urgence Internationale has conducted several needs assessments in the departments of Norte de Santander, Santander, Boyaca and Arauca. The NGO is now mobilising its teams to meet the needs of Venezuelan refugees during their exodus and following their settlement in Colombia, often in informal poor neighborhoods around cities.
On the Cúcuta-Bucaramanga road, the humanitarian response has so far been carried out by local associations and international NGOs through the provision of shelters and basic services. Their operation is now threatened by a lack of resources. Première Urgence Internationale try to respond to this regional crisis and support this organisations.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
Première Urgence Internationale in consortium with Solidarité International in Colombia. The programs aim to improve the access of Venezuelan migrants to high-quality medical care and psycho-social support, ensure decent food distribution and shelter, and address priority needs for water, sanitation and hygiene.
Mobiles medicals teams are mobilised in the department of Aurauca and Santander to meet health needs. Primary health care and psycho-social support are provided, awareness is organised and a response to the COVID-19 pandemic is deployed.
Colombia: “As purchasing manager, I deliver meals to migrants on the road”
Tania Rodríguez, a Colombian repatriate, is head of the service point in Curití, in Santander, the main road between Bucaramanga and Bogotá and practically the only support point for “caminantes” arriving from Venezuela.
Venezuelan refugees in Colombia: living in the instability again
Première Urgence Internationale and Solidarités International are helping to mitigate the urgent risks faced by Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia. The current health crisis is particularly affecting the food security of this population. In collaboration with the municipality of Bucaramanga, the two NGOs in consortium and their local partner Fundacion Entre Dos Tierras, are joining forces to meet the food needs of these vulnerable populations.
Colombia: Solidarités International and Première Urgence Internationale take action
The current Venezuelan crisis and the massive exodus of people from neighbouring countries has alerted both NGOs. Colombia, the leading host country for Venezuelan refugees, faces the challenge of meeting the primary needs of the populations on its territory.