Venezuela: UN agency warns of humanitarian ‘catastrophe’

Photo: F. Vergara – AP

 

The World Food Program director called on the US and other nations to provide financial assistance to Colombia. NGOs have tried to help Venezuelans directly, but President Maduro has repeatedly refused humanitarian aid.

By DW

Jun 29, 2021

The World Food Program director, David Beasley, urged the international community on Tuesday to help Colombia handle the humanitarian “catastrophe” that is unfolding at the border with neighboring Venezuela.

Beasley delivered the warning after a two-day visit to the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where he gathered testimony from Venezuelans who had crossed the border.

“I asked, ‘Why are you here?’, and the answer people gave me was, ‘We don’t have any food.’ And they said, ‘Even if we had money, there’s no food,'” Beasley recounted. “I don’t think people around the world realize how bad the situation is and how much worse it could very well be,” the WFP director said.

“This could turn into an absolute disaster in unprecedented proportions for the Western Hemisphere,” Beasley warned.

Colombia at risk

The Venezuelan exodus has sparked alarm across Latin American nations. It is estimated that as many as 3 to 4 million Venezuelans have emigrated, with several hundred thousand in 2017 alone. The bulk of these migrants in 2017 have fled to neighboring Colombia. The Colombian Ministry of Defense, Luis Carlos Villegas, said that there were approximately 700 thousand Venezuelan immigrants registered in the country.

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