CARACAS, Venezuela — The country of Venezuela is located in northern South America, bordering Colombia and Guyana near the Atlantic Ocean. Homelessness in Venezuela has led to an influx of Venezuelan migrants in neighboring countries. This migration is due in large part to the harsh economic challenges back home and the detrimental effects that come with them. Fleeing from poverty has become the common cause of relocation for many Venezuelans. The list below shows statistics of migration and homelessness in Venezuela, the effects of them in surrounding countries and what has been done to help those suffering from it.
Migration and Homelessness in Venezuela
- Poverty Rate – The National Institute of Statistics released a report on homelessness in Venezuela, finding that about 90% of its inhabitants live in some form of poverty. Failed economic policies and oil prices have created intense monetary issues for Venezuelans. Some are only able to eat two meals or less per day. Many others have said they wake up hungry because they do not have the funds to purchase food to eat. These issues are a result of and further increase the inflation rate. Increased inflation becomes a problem when basic necessities cost so much that lower-income families can no longer afford them.
- Mass Migration – People began to make their exodus in 2014. The crisis the nation currently faces has led to 4.5 million people leaving in desperation for relief. Data released from agencies like The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported an 8,000% increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status since 2014. Many refugees have dispersed to different countries across Latin America. Brazil, Argentina and Peru are just some of the nations that have accepted those who have fled.
- Colombia Has Helped the Most – Colombia has the largest concentration of refugees who have fled from homelessness in Venezuela at more than 1.6 million people. The Colombian government has taken significant steps to improve the lives of refugees within its borders as well. One example is the creation of Special Stay Permits that has allowed around 100,000 to stay and work legally in the county. Additionally, Venezuelans can also enroll in Colombia’s national social security and health care programs.
- United States Intervention – The government of the United States has also taken action to positively impact the lives of refugees in Colombia. The country provided approximately $2.5 million dollars worth of aid in the form of food and medical supplies for Venezuelans in need of assistance. The supplies sent to Colombia helped to significantly reduce the country’s spending on refugees.
Homelessness in Venezuela not only impacts the country itself. Nations like Colombia and Peru have opened their borders to accept refugees looking for ways to support themselves and their families. The U.S. government is still working to provide more help for countries like Colombia with refugees within their borders. Even so, more aid is still needed to help sustain the refugees and Venezuela needs assistance to help boost its economy.
– Matthew Beach