Seeking Refuge in Colombia

Against a backdrop of decades-long conflict and deeply-rooted cycles of poverty, marginalisation and displacement, around 10% of Colombia’s population — some 5 million people — are in need of humanitarian assistance and struggle to meet their basic needs. Exacerbating these internal challenges, Colombia has received the greatest number of refugees and migrants fleeing Venezuela’s economic and humanitarian crisis.

Colombia has become a place of refuge for Venezuelan migrants and refugees with almost 2 million Venezuelans crossing the border seeking safety, food, medicine and income.

Mercy Corps is working in Colombia’s poorest areas to provide resources to newly arrived Venezuelan migrants. Their needs are great and many arrive malnourished and in need of medical care. Like Jose and his family, they are also searching for food and work.

Jose and his family withstood the crisis in Venezuela for as long as they could, but when their situation grew so desperate that they were drinking glasses of water for dinner, they made the painful decision to leave their home and seek survival in Colombia. © Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

Jose’s wife, Ana Maria, was pregnant when the family received a cash disbursement from Mercy Corps, and the money allowed her to get medical care for the birth. They said they would have had no way to go to the hospital without the assistance. The family also purchased essential household items for their shelter. Jose and his family are hopeful they can return to Venezuela soon. It is their home and it’s where they see their future.