Colombia: International aid for Venezuelan migrants is too low

More than a million Venezuelans fled to Colombia, and are putting extra pressure on basic services such as healthcare.

Venezuelan migrant women walk through a camp run by the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Maicao, Colombia
The United Nations has called on the international community to support Colombia with $315m this year to help it cope with the influx of Venezuelans who are entering the country [Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

International donors have been significantly less generous in their support of Venezuelan migrants than has been the case in other global refugee crises, Colombia‘s foreign minister said on Tuesday, as he repeated a request for more aid money.

Colombia has borne the brunt of mass migration from its neighbour, which is mired in a deep political and economic crisis that has caused long-running shortages of food and medicine.

More than 1.4 million people from Venezuela have fled to Colombia in recent years, pressuring the systems that provide healthcare, schooling and other basics such as food and shelter.

The United Nations had called for global donations of $315m in 2019 to help Colombia – itself a developing country – cope with the influx. But as of last week, Colombia had received just 30 percent of that, said Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo in a prepared statement.

“The international community has been much more generous in other cases,” said Trujillo, who met with UN representatives on Tuesday. “We are grateful for the cooperation that we have received, but as the number of migrants keeps growing, so will the demand for services and resources.”

The funds received equate to around $68 per migrant, he said, comparing that to the between $500 and $900 donated per person for those fleeing crises in Syria, South Sudan and Myanmar.

Speaking to Reuters over the weekend, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said Venezuela was “one of the most under-funded humanitarian appeals in the world for one of the biggest crises”.

Colombia said this month that it would give citizenship to more than 24,000 children born to Venezuelan migrant parents to prevent the children from being stateless and less able to access education and healthcare.

The country of some 49 million has not put in place stringent immigration requirements, although restrictions are mounting in other parts of the region.

Source: Reuters