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Updated On: Sunday, 27 May 2018

Venezuelans Fleeing for Colombia

Content by: South-South News

1 May 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — The UN World Food Program (WFP) has called for $46 million in funding to support some 350,000 people who have crossed the border from Venezuela into Colombia.

WFP said the funding would be used for an eight-month operation aimed at feeding the most vulnerable migrants in Colombia. The Colombian government reports that, to date, 1 million Venezuelans have crossed the border and 660,000 have stayed in Colombia. WFP estimated that 90 percent of the migrants do not know where their next meal will come from.

Miguel Barreto, WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “Today, we have visited not just the border between Colombia and Venezuela in La Guajira. We just also visited also a migration center, a temporary migration center, and we witnessed the needs of thousands of people are crossing the border everyday. So the World Food Program is here to support these people, particularly children and mothers.”

He added, “We are working together with the migration centers, with the schools in order to provide food to the schools, and to different communities in order to reach 350, 000 during the next six months. So we need the support of the international community. We are going to scale up this week and we are going to reach 50,000 people in three departments, but the objective, only can be possible with the support of the international community. And this is really really a human crisis that we haven’t seen in Latin Americas for a very long time. So this is time to help. There are hundreds and thousands of people in need and we need the support from all of you.”

WFP said the Colombian Government has begun registering Venezuelan migrants in Colombia this month and the UN laid out an integrated response plan to the crisis. WFP said it would be providing emergency food assistance to migrants in temporary shelters, especially women and children, emergency support for school meals, and would help Venezuelan families trying to integrate. WFP said it would also support vulnerable indigenous communities coping with the influx, where in some areas migrants now make up more than half of the population.

WFP currently works with temporary shelters or community kitchens run by Catholic Church organizations and other partners, purchasing the food needed to prepare hot meals for newly arrived migrants.

WFP said the new food assistance would be distributed as a monthly electronic cash transfer to families, 96,000 Colombian pesos (35 USD) per person. The transfers will be redeemable in local shops to buy nutritious food from a pre-defined list. WFP said this allows recipients to choose the foods they wish to eat, meaning a more diverse diet, while also supporting the local economy.

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