Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela
About the crisis in Venezuela
Venezuela is experiencing an unprecedented and man-made humanitarian crisis, causing a mass exodus of its people. Thousands of children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and people are contracting formerly eradicated diseases such as measles.
More than 3 million people—about ten percent of the population—have fled Venezuela as a result of political instability, hunger, inflation, poverty and soaring crime rates. It has been described as the largest exodus in Latin America in a hundred years. Four out of five refugees have remained within Latin America and the Caribbean.
Women and girls are suffering disproportionately in Venezuela. Trafficking of women for sex and forced labor is increasing throughout the region. The spiraling levels of poverty, both for Venezuelans inside the country and those fleeing within the region, have forced many women into sex work. Their often-illegal status in countries within the region, along with the high numbers of women traveling alone, also increases their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. Teenage children seeking refuge in churches in the capital of Caracas have told stories of how their parents were forced to send them to be sex workers as a way to provide for the family.
What CARE is doing
In Ecuador, Colombia, and southern Venezuela, CARE provides the most vulnerable people with cash vouchers for food and accommodation as well as transport tickets and telephone SIM cards. CARE also provides kits for women that include sanitary materials, diapers, soap, toothbrushes, and other items.
CARE organizes awareness-raising activities around gender-based violence. In Colombia, CARE provides new arrivals with legal counselling and information services. In Peru, where more than 700,000 Venezuelans have sought refuge, CARE also provides cash assistance and kits for women and girls, as well as working with the local Peruvian population to combat increasing xenophobia and promote inclusion.
CARE will soon begin responding to child malnutrition in Caracas through a local partner as well as continuing support across the borders, while also aiming to work with the refugee host country governments on longer term integration needs such as education and health, access to social protection services, legal advice and entrepreneurial opportunities for Venezuelans.
How CARE works in emergencies
RESPONDING TODAY, PREPARING FOR TOMORROW
In 2011 alone, CARE reached 12 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict situations and other crises.