UN agency seeks urgent funds to help 350,000 Venezuelan migrants

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Venezuelan refugees and migrants at a shelter on the outskirts of Cúcuta, Colombia. An estimated 300,000 Venezuelans are living in Colombia having fled political violence, crime and widespread shortages. UNHCR/Paul Smith

ROME, Italy — The United Nations emergency food relief agency has issued an urgent appeal for nearly $46 million to feed some 350,000 impoverished migrants who crossed the border from Venezuela into Colombia, as well as host communities with pre-existing vulnerabilities.

“We urgently need funds so that we can bring vital aid to migrant families who have left their homes behind, and don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Miguel Barreto, the regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

“We also need to support host communities, many of them already poor, who have shown great generosity as they bear the brunt of this crisis,” he added, referring to the deepening socio-economic turmoil inside Venezuela.

In a news release on Thursday, WFP announced that as part of an eight-month response, it will provide food assistance to migrants – especially women and children – living in temporary shelters; emergency support for school meals; as well as help Venezuelan families trying to integrate.

These efforts are part of a larger integrated response plan, drawn up by UN agencies in Colombia – at the request of the government – to help address the crisis.

Support will be extended to vulnerable indigenous communities coping with the influx, where in some areas migrants now make up more than half of the population, said WFP.

At present, the UN agency is working with temporary shelters or community kitchens run by religious organizations and other partners, purchasing the food needed to prepare hot meals for newly arrived migrants.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a sad situation where one person and his cronies can ruin the lives of so many people. While living in Bucaramanga, Colombia for a period of time, I experienced watching the poor migrants living in several of the many parks located there. Women and children trying to scrape up enough money from begging in order to feed themselves. The Colombian government has been in my opinion very gracious in turning their heads the other way in order to allow them to safely flee this villainous government and in many cases to perform odd jobs for cash which of course hurts the local population by depriving them of work. Until Maduro is removed I see no way forward for this country.

  2. The $US 46 million would be better spent arming guerrillas to overthrow this wicked, nasty, corrupt, and incompetent regime.

    Better still, America could end the misery of the Venezuelan people in a few short days if Trump had the courage of Ronald Reagan who sent the marines to liberate the oppressed people of Grenada on October 25, 1983.

    That most English-speaking Caribbean countries continue to support the viscous Maduro regime boggles the mind until it is remembered that they have been bribed by cheap Petrocaribe oil.

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