World Vision: Number of children fleeing Venezuela will rise

  • 460,000 children already in urgent need of humanitarian assistance
  • Resources are needed to provide food, medicine and legal assistance to incoming families

Jan 29, 2019 Worsening conditions and instability in Venezuela will see an increase in the number of people fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, international aid organisation World Vision said today.

“Everyday 35,000 people leave Venezuela, but we anticipate increasing numbers in the coming week/months. The persistent instability, isolation and insecurity in Venezuela is putting more pressure on families who already lack access to food, healthcare, shelter and education”, said Joao Diniz, World Vision Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Leader.

Approximately 460,000 children have left Venezuela and are already living temporarily or permanently in neighbouring countries. They are in urgent need of humanitarian aid such as protection, shelter, and access to basic services including food, sanitation, and other essential life-saving supports.

Local governments cannot keep up with the increasing need for goods, services and infrastructure that is required to help migrants and refugees from Venezuela. World Vision needs further funding to provide immediate humanitarian assistance, protect children from all forms of abuse, to support social and cultural inclusion and help prevent xenophobia. Our focus is on supporting women and children, who are are often the most vulnerable to labour and sexual exploitation associated with large scale migration. 

World Vision is providing assistance to incoming migrants and refugees in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. “We have already invested over $1.5 million to provide hygiene kits, food, medicine, shelter and to create Child Friendly Spaces for social and psychological support. However, long term solutions must be developed to ensure that Venezuelan children get to go to school and integration supports for both migrant and host populations are put in place.”, added Diniz.

In Brazil, World Vision provides 150 people a day with legal support to obtain correct documentation. Families receive hygiene kits to support the prevention of disease and improve their general health following a very long journey with little or no access at all to food, medicine and clean water. At least 6 Child Friendly Spaces are operating in the border community of Roraima.

In Ecuador, cash-based assistance is being provided both in Quito, the capital, and in border communities so that families can buy food and medicine. Parents and caregivers are also given entrepreneurship training to help them to support their families on a long-term basis.

In Colombia, where 1.1 million Venezuelan people live, World Vision has installed Child Friendly Spaces that provide a safe space to children in distress. The NGO also provides spaces and support for breastfeeding mothers. With the assistance of Faith Based Organisations and community leaders, World Vision is facilitating cultural and social integration. “Investing in the well-being of all children regardless of their nationality will prevent further social conflict and will improve their opportunities in the long term”, added World Vision’s Regional Leader.

In Peru, World Vision is concentrating its efforts in Tumbes, a border community that receives thousands of people from Venezuela daily. Besides food, livelihoods and healthcare, World Vision provides legal assistance to obtain documentation and works to prevent xenophobia and labour exploitation.