More than 3,000 people have been displaced by heavy clashes between Colombian non-state armed groups and the Venezuelan army in La Victoria and rural surroundings in Venezuela. Displaced communities are fleeing into Colombia, many in need of aid.
“It was reported that families continue to flee across the border in search of safety as the violence in the area has not completely stopped. People we have spoken with are terrified and fear for their lives,” said Dominika Arseniuk, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in Colombia.
A Venezuelan woman who fled to Canciones town in Colombia told NRC; “Armed men who arrived in our town and started shouting that we had 30 minutes to flee. We walked for two hours and crossed the river that divides Venezuela and Colombia. We now sleep on the floor without mattresses. Since Sunday we have only had enough food to eat once a day.”
The Colombian government is responding to the influx of displaced people, but its resources are limited and it is severely overstretched. The country already hosts 1.7 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees who have fled the crisis in Venezuela. There are insufficient tents and food for the refugees who have arrived, with more people expected in the coming days to Arauca, Colombia.
NRC teams are on the ground assessing the needs of the population to scale up its response.
"We ask the international community to step in and support the Colombia government responding to the crisis,” said Arseniuk.
- NRC has spokespeople in Colombia available for interview in English and Spanish.