Venezuela Situation

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The emergency in Venezuela is one of the largest and most far-reaching of our time

The situation evolving in Venezuela, a country that has traditionally been a generous host to thousands of refugees, has led to large outflows of its citizens and other residents into the region and beyond.

Over 4 million Venezuelans have left their homes as of September 2019. As economic instability, violence and lack of access to food, medicine and jobs continues to grow, more Venezuelan families are forced to flee, with the total number of refugees expected to reach 5 million by the end of this year.

While some Venezuelans have obtained documentation which allows them to stay legally, the majority have no regular status and are therefore more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, violence, trafficking and discrimination.

Help Venezuelan Refugees Now

Astrid van Genderen Stort at border between Venezuelan and Colombia

refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide


funding gap (as of Jan. 2020)

residence permits and other forms of regular status to Venezuelans have been granted by Latin American countries.

How You Can Help

UNHCR is funded almost entirely by donations from individuals, corporations, and governments. When you support UNHCR’s projects such as the Venezuela Emergency Situation, you are contributing directly to providing emergency relief to Venezuelans who need it most.

Venezuelans continue to face difficulties in accessing services, impacting their ability to provide food, housing, health care, and other basic needs for their families. Families are exhausting their savings and resources, and are falling further into poverty.

UNHCR’s overall requirements for its comprehensive response inside and outside Venezuela currently total CAD$209 million.

Your donation will help UNHCR in improving reception conditions, coordinate the provision of assistance to meet Venezuelans’ immediate basic needs including shelter, food and water; as well as combat discrimination and xenophobia through awareness campaigns.

In 2018, around 5,000 Venezuelans crossed into neighbouring countries every day.

Refugee Housing Units

UNHCR has partnered up with Better Shelter and the IKEA Foundation to design the Refugee Housing Unit (RHU), an innovative housing solution which is now being deployed to Venezuelan refugees in Brazil and in refugee settlements around the world.

Struggling to survive away from home, refugee families require secure shelters that give them the peace of mind they need knowing they are safe. This is especially crucial for women and girls who are at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

RHUs are Dignified, Durable and Sustainable

  • They protect against heavy rain, wind and sun
  • Are free standing height and 9 airflow openings
  • Requires no skilled labour to assemble
  • They can be maintained and repaired over time
  • They can be disassembled, moved and reassembled

Refugee Housing Unit: A safe and durable housing solution for those forced from home

This video explains how RHUs are set up and the difference it makes for refugee families

Your donation can provide Venezuelans with Refugee Housing Units

Thousands of Venezuelan families have been forced to flee their homes. With your support, we can give them life-saving care.

Donate to Venezuelan Refugees

The Venezuelan Situation

The exodus of Venezuelan nationals is the largest in the recent history of Latin America and the Caribbean. UNHCR and partners are scaling up preparedness and operational activities to respond to the growing needs of the people from Venezuela

“Venezuelans I met during my visits spoke of hunger, lack of access to medical care, insecurity, threats, fear. They are families, women alone, children, young boys and girls, all in conditions of extreme vulnerability. All of them saw no other option than to leave their country—sometimes walking for days—seeking to live in dignity and to build a future.” – Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. 

UNHCR has joined efforts with over 90 partners to establish a Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants (RMRP). The ultimate goal is the provision of protection and assistance to Venezuelans in need, irrespective of status.

Helping Venezuelan Refugees

In close collaboration with host governments, partner organizations, civil society, faith-based organizations and UN Agencies (in particular IOM), UNHCR undertakes the following activities:

  • Improving reception conditions and advocating for facilitated access to legal status
  • Supporting government registration, profiling and protection monitoring
  • Providing emergency/temporary shelter
  • Coordinating campaigns against xenophobia

While the situation is complex, we must help Venezuelans in need by providing them with emergency supplies, a safe place to stay, and the tools they need to ensure a bright future.

Child Refugees

As refugees, children are often the most vulnerable to hardship and trauma, and this is especially true for children fleeing Venezuela.

A high number of children of school-going age are dropping out to supplement their family income. The use of children in smuggling activities and illegal mining activities, among others has been reported. Child labour and child prostitution have particularly increased in Táchira, Zulia and Bolivar States.

Due to the current displacement trend, particularly as a result of the migration of parents abroad, a higher number of unaccompanied and separated children has been noted. Lack of birth registration, in particular for indigenous populations such as the Warao, is a major concern. In Colombia, access to education is an obstacle. Many school districts require the child’s parents to obtain legal status within three months of enrolling the child, or insist on official papers certifying the child’s school level, documents that are extremely difficult if not impossible to obtain.

“The most durable solution for children and their parents will be integration into their host communities, and part of that is getting them access to education,” said Jozef Merkx, UNHCR’s representative in Colombia.

Help Us Care for Venezuelan Children

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