FILE - A Venezuelan migrant woman poses for a picture with her children, while they wait to have their documents processed at the Ecuador-Peru border, on the outskirts of Tumbes, Peru, June 17, 2019.
FILE - A Venezuelan migrant woman poses for a picture with her children, while they wait to have their documents processed at the Ecuador-Peru border, on the outskirts of Tumbes, Peru, June 17, 2019.

Updated Nov. 14, 9:05 AM

GENEVA — The U.N. refugee and U.N. Migration agencies are jointly appealing for $1.35 billion to provide humanitarian aid for millions of needy Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as the communities hosting them in Latin America and the Caribbean.

About 4.6 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela and are scattered around the world.  About 80 percent are taking refuge in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

The U.N. agencies say the 1.35 billion-dollar response plan aims to help all Venezuelans fleeing for their safety in the region and the communities hosting them.  U.N. refugee spokesman Babar Baloch told VOA it is critically important for international donors to support this appeal as there is no resolution in sight for this crisis.

“Many Venezuelans are still on the run.  So, we are talking about refugees and migrants. And, let us not forget the situation inside Venezuela is serious and it is worsening day by day. We are talking about political and human rights issues. There is a socio-economic crisis as well,” he said.  

Baloch said Venezuelans arriving in Colombia, Peru, Chile, and other countries in the region are in desperate straits and in need of protection and assistance. He said the enormity of the problem is putting huge strains on the host communities, many of which are impoverished themselves.  He warned the situation is likely to get worse.

“We now stand at 4.6 million people being affected, refugees and migrants…if there is no resolution as currently, there is no resolution in sight for this crisis, this figure could reach somewhere near 6.5 million by the end of 2020,” Baloch said.  

With little prospect of Venezuelans returning home anytime soon, the U.N. agencies say refugees and migrants will need to be included in the social and economic activities of local communities.

The appeal will focus on providing them with health, education, food, protection, nutrition, shelter and other essential relief and care.

 

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