Ongoing political, human rights, and socio-economic developments in Venezuela are compelling growing numbers of children, women and men to leave for neighboring countries and beyond. Many arrive scared, tired, and in dire need of assistance. With over 5.9 million Venezuelans living abroad, the vast majority in countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, this has become one of the largest displacement crisis in the world. There has been an 8,000 per cent increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status worldwide since 2014, principally in the Americas.
The majority of refugees and migrants from Venezuela arriving in neighboring countries are families with children, pregnant women, elderly people and people with disabilities. Often obliged to take irregular routes to reach safety, they may fall prey to smugglers, traffickers and irregular armed groups. As more and more families arrive with fewer and fewer resources, they are in immediate need of documentation, protection, shelter, food and medicine.
Host countries and communities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and the southern Caribbean have been generously welcoming them, but are increasingly overstretched and some are reaching a saturation point.