Read caption “Everything here comes from the landfill. We live on it and from it. We need help to find other sources of income, like fishing. I don’t want to continue working with only garbage,” said Carlota Diaz, 63. Her husband (also pictured) is sick with fever and malaria. Her two children live right next door in the landfill site. Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC

Spike of people leaving Venezuela risk overwhelming humanitarian capacity

Published 24. Aug 2019
“Anticipating the negative effects of new visa requirements in Ecuador and Peru, applied in the last three months, have led to a spike in the number of people leaving Venezuela in recent weeks”, warned Christian Visnes, country director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

In recent days thousands of Venezuelans in need of humanitarian assistance have rushed to cross the Colombian and subsequently the Ecuadorian border in a bid to beat the introduction of new visa measures.

From next Sunday, 25 August, Ecuador will request all newly arriving Venezuelans to present a visa to enter to the country.

"I want to cross the border as soon as possible before I am required to have a visa at the Ecuadorian border. I only earn 10 dollars per month in Venezuela and the visa will costs me 50 dollars", a 32-year-old pregnant woman told NRC staff, while receiving water at the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

The Norwegian Refugee Council believes that the new visa requirements will for many make crossing legally impossible and will lead to many being forced to informal border crossing with high risks of trafficking, gender-based sexual violence, extortion and other forms of violence.

In recent days NRC staff based on the borders are being overwhelmed as number of people in need have doubled, nevertheless NRC continue to assist people, including children, women and elderly people with legal services for protection, temporary shelter, shelter kits, hygiene kits, water and food.

“Humanitarian support needs to be scaled-up. There are increasing number of people in urgent need of food and without a place to sleep. Many of these just want to cross the border to join their relatives in different countries in the region.”, said Visnes.

It is urgent that the international community reaffirm their solidarity with Venezuelans seeking a better life in the region, and facilitate access to humanitarian aid and protection when needed.

For more information, please contact:

In Bogotá:

David García

david.garcia@nrc.no

+57 3214957209