- Title: Venezuela exodus set to top 5 million as long-term needs grow, officials say
- Date: 23rd October 2019
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 23, 2019) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF UNITED NATIONS BUILDING VARIOUS OF NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF THE EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO THE UNITED NATIONS IN GENEVA, AMBASSADOR WALTER STEVENS, SAYING: "This is the most severe and fastest growing refugee and migrant crisis in Latin America history, at least the recent history. And this is probably becoming also one of the biggest external displacement crisis in the world. You have heard the figures, 4.5 million Venezuelans have left their country by now, and that is now an official figure. Again, it is the largest exodus in Latin America recent history. And the estimates are also that it could further increase if the situation does not change, quickly reaching 5 million." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOINT UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR) AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION (IOM) SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR VENEZUELAN REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS, EDUARDO STEIN, SAYING: "The 4.5 million figure refers mostly to people that have left since 2015 until today. I want to repeat myself, saying that these are official figures that come from official border crossings provided by the governments. We of course have seen physically in most crossings that the numbers might be higher because of the unofficial pathways."
- Embargoed: 6th November 2019 11:58
- Keywords: Venezuela United Nations refugees migrants
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / IPIALES & CUCUTA, COLOMBIA / CHACALLUTA BORDER AREA, ARICA, CHILE
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / IPIALES & CUCUTA, COLOMBIA / CHACALLUTA BORDER AREA, ARICA, CHILE
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Government/Politics,United Nations
- Reuters ID: LVA002B2BJVBB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The exodus of Venezuelans is on track to reach 5 million people, as pressure grows on neighbouring countries to provide them with long-term support, United Nations and European Union officials said on Wednesday (October 23).
Some 4.5 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela since 2015, according to official figures, but more are using illegal crossing points because they lack identity papers, said Eduardo Stein, joint special representative of the U.N. refugee and migration agencies.
The crisis has worsened since the United States imposed sanctions, including on the pivotal oil industry, in an effort to oust leftist President Nicolas Maduro in favour of opposition leader Juan Guaido. Dozens of nations recognise Juan Guaido as interim president, saying Maduro rigged a 2018 election.
Roughly 5,000 people leave Venezuela daily, although the number fluctuates as more states require visas, Stein said.
A U.N. regional humanitarian response plan of $739 million for this year is expected to nearly double for 2020, he added.
The initially welcoming attitude to Venezuelans around South America has soured amid accusations they bring crime, crowd the job market, and strain social services.
The United Nations and European Union are hosting a meeting on Oct. 28-29 in Brussels to raise awareness of needs. Donors and officials from the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank are due to attend, but no Venezuelan representatives.
Colombia is the top destination for Venezuelan migrants fleeing the long-running crisis, which has caused widespread shortages of food and medicine. Some 1.4 million Venezuelans live in Colombia.
The flow is overwhelming the financial and administrative capacities of host countries to provide education and health services, Stein said.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None