• Crisis Severity ?
    4.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    4.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    4.4
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    3.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    4.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 51,000,000 Total population [?]
  • 5,235,000 People displaced [?]
  • 7,700,000 People in Need [?]

Special Reports

31/03/2022

Overview

28/06/2022

Four years after the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country continues to face multiple challenges. At least 7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance as at 2022. Increased territorial control by armed groups – particularly in isolated rural areas – has escalated the conflict and added to the existing needs. This escalation has manifested in the increased killing of social leaders, massacres, confinements and forced displacements, natural disasters, and the arrival of refugees and migrants. The most affected departments are La Guajira, Cauca, Norte de Santander, Arauca, Córdoba, Chocó, Nariño, Putumayo, and Guaviare. ?

Since 2020, there has been a fragmentation of armed groups and organised crime groups seeking greater territorial control of strategic areas to conduct drug trafficking. The increased violence – especially in rural areas – has created significant protection concerns. Between January–April 2022, violence related to 56 mass displacement events left 79,000 people displaced. These figures represent a 300% increase in the total number of people displaced compared to the first quarter of 2021. Confinements and mobility restrictions imposed on communities by armed groups, threats of attacks and/or threats to the population, and armed curfews occur in areas previously unaffected by the conflict. These restrictions limit safe access to education and health assistance and hamper water collection and livelihood activities for communities in the affected areas. The departments most affected by the conflict are predominately populated by Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities. These departments continue to be disproportionally affected by insecurity. Social leaders have become systematic targets of violent attacks from armed groups and organised crime groups. ?

As at 2022, there are 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia. The arrival and transit of millions of people have had a considerable effect on services and resources. The Colombian health and education systems have insufficient capacity to respond to the incoming influx of people. ?

 

Latest Developments

08/09/2022

No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team

Humanitarian Access

07/07/2022

very High constraints

Colombia faced Very High humanitarian access constraints in the past six months, scoring 4/5 in ACAPS Humanitarian Access Index. The humanitarian access situation remained stable.  

For more information you can consult our latest Global Humanitarian Access Overview – July 2022

Risk

The intensification of armed conflict on both sides of the Colombian-Venezuelan border and in Venezuela increases the number of internally displaced Colombians and Venezuelans in Colombia needing assistance Latest update: 27/03/2022

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

RATIONALE

The demobilisation and subsequent withdrawal from the Colombian-Venezuelan border of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) following the 2016 peace agreement strengthened other armed groups, mainly the National Liberation Army (ELN) and FARC-EP dissidents, in Colombia and Venezuela border departments.?

Strict COVID-19 prevention measures imposed in 2020, including mobility restrictions, reduced drug-trafficking income for armed groups in Colombia.? The reduction pushed the groups to revert to other illegal markets, including human smuggling and trafficking, increasing their armed activity along the border.? The armed conflict, previously essentially limited to Colombia, started acquiring a cross-border characteristic in 2020, with increasingly regular clashes on both Colombia and Venezuela sides. Disputes between armed groups on the Venezuelan side of the border also began in January 2022. The ELN and FARC-EP dissidents had a non-aggression and territorial division agreement. The alleged assassination of some leaders of the FARC-EP dissidents by ELN forces in December 2021 broke this agreement and marked the beginning of the fight for territorial control and expansion.?

Since the beginning of 2022, the Venezuelan army has also been responding to attempts by FARC-EP dissidents to expand their territory along the border.? In the past, the ELN and the FARC-EP dissident group known as La Segunda Marquetalia could continue their activity without the intervention of the Venezuelan army.? The emergence of new dissident groups, such as the 10th Front, has prompted the Venezuelan army to respond militarily.?

The new conflict dynamics show a marked deterioration of the conflict situation at the Colombia-Venezuela border and a risk of further conflict expansion and intensification in some areas in Venezuela. The lack of diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela, which got severed in 2019, aggravates this situation.?

IMPACT

These conflict dynamics are expected to result in insecurity and violence against civilians on both sides of the border. In January, clashes in the area between Apure (Venezuela) and Arauca (Colombia) killed at least 61 people and displaced over 1,800 Colombians and 370 Venezuelans.?

In other border departments, such as Vichada, conflict displaced more than 1,200 Venezuelan citizens to the other side of the border between 10 January and 10 March.? Landmine accidents have killed at least eight people in Venezuela in 2022.?

The intensification of violence in Venezuela will likely increase cross-border displacement, as the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela makes it difficult for IDPs to get assistance. The planting of landmines on Venezuelan territory will likely increase civilian casualties. Increased armed group presence may also lead to the confinement of communities. The targeted assassination of civilians can be expected to increase, as armed groups assume that those who do not support them are allied with their enemies.?

Previous cross-border displacements saw a lack of food, shelter, and sanitation facilities, and education and health services were nearly impossible to obtain.? The cross-border nature of the conflict means there is little clarity regarding who should respond to these displacements, and there are serious limitations to humanitarian response in Venezuela.?

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KEY PRIORITIES

22/02/2022

KEY PRIORITIES

Protection: continued conflict – particularly in rural and border areas – has resulted in increased threats against civilians, displacement, confinements, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced recruitment. Massacres and the targeted killing of social leaders and human rights defenders have increased in 2021. The departments of greatest concern are Chocó, Antioquia, Córdoba, Cauca, Norte de Santander, Arauca, Putumayo, and Nariño. ?

Food security: at least 7,354,034 people in Colombia are in need of food assistance, particularly in the areas most affected by armed conflict and natural hazards. Armed groups’ activity has restricted access to land, affecting agricultural production, as well as access to and the availability of food. ?

Health: at least 3.1 million people in Colombia are in need of health assistance in 2021. Infrastructure and the response capacity at the national level are limited, particularly in border areas and areas affected by armed conflict.?

Shelter and NFIs: during mass displacement, people take shelter in family homes, communal houses, schools, and other improvised facilities. These structures and facilities often face overcrowding and a lack of basic sanitation. The need for shelter is also required for Venezuelan migrants and refugees. ?

WASH: there are at least 4.6 million people in need of WASH in Colombia. The departments of Arauca, Norte de Santander, La Guajira, and Nariño are some of the most affected by the lack of water and sewerage, which also affects a large number of Venezuelan migrants, as these are border regions with Venezuela. La Guajira is one of the regions with the least access to WASH; as a result of droughts and lack of aqueducts, only 21.1% of people have access to water and 11.8% to sewerage services. The need for food is also affected by the impact of lack of water for crop irrigation. ?

Peace Agreement: five years later

06/12/2021

After the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) on 24 November 2016, the conflict in the country has not ceased. ? This year marks five years since the signing of the Accord, but mass displacement has been on the rise. Between July–September alone, more than 15,644 people have been displaced in 21 mass displacement events – a 107% increase over the 2020 total of 7,542 displaced people during the same months.? From January–November 2021, at least 68,325 people were reported displaced in 153 mass events – double the total reported for the whole of 2020. ? As at 15 November 2021, 88 massacres have been reported, with 313 people killed as at September – a 9% increase compared to the same period last year. ?

The resurgence of armed conflict and the lack of state presence mainly affect the departments of Antioquia, Bolívar, Cauca, Chocó, Córdoba, Nariño, and Putumayo.? Fighting continues between armed groups over territorial control of strategically important areas and routes for drug trafficking and other irregular economies. ? The most affected population groups are women, children, indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, and social leaders. ? Armed groups seek territorial control and threaten Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups that govern autonomously and defend their territories. People who oppose the activity of armed groups are often intimidated, threatened, or persecuted.

The failure to comply with some points of the Agreement (such as the security and reintegration of ex-combatants and land restitution) has changed the dynamics of the armed conflict? and led to the return of 2–7% of the 13,000 demobilised ex-combatants to new armed groups, as well as the strengthening and territorial control of existing armed groups (as AGC and ELN) in former FARC-EP-controlled areas. ? The limited compliance with the Agreement's point on the Comprehensive National Programme for the Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS), which seeks to eradicate drug production, has enabled the replanting of illicit crops and strengthened criminal groups. ?

ACAPS is currently part of the MIRE Consortium, which focuses on providing analysis and humanitarian assistance to the populations in need through officers present in conflict-affected departments. Our analysts are following the humanitarian situation resulting from the armed conflict in Colombia on a daily basis.

Migratory flows across the Colombia-Panama border

20/09/2022

The Urabá region comprises 11 municipalities in the departments of Antioquia and four in Chocó. In Urabá, there is a swampy jungle area known as the Darién Gap, which connects with the Panamanian province of Darién. In this subregion, there have historically been migratory transits from African and Asian countries, such as Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile (where people can travel with less restrictions), to reach the United States through Central America.?

During 2021, the number of daily arrivals to municipalities in Colombia and then on to Panama ranged between 800–900.? By the end of 2021, at least 133,726 people had passed through this border – more than all the crossings recorded between 2010–2020.?On 9 August 2021, the Colombian and Panamanian Governments agreed on a quota of maximum 650 migrants per day allowed to cross the border.?Given that daily arrivals are greater than departures, on several occasions, a large number of migrants have remained stranded in the Darién Gap for one to four months, waiting to cross into Central America. On some occasions, up to 22,000 migrants have been stuck in municipalities not prepared for hosting high numbers of people. This is the case of Necoclí, a town of just over 70,000 inhabitants.?

The stranded population, mostly from Haiti (76%) and Cuba (14%), lives across the towns in makeshift camps that lack WASH infrastructure and facilities, food, and necessary NFIs. The situation has put a strain on the capacities of local hospitals, where between 50–60 migrants are attended every day for emergency assistance. Most of them are pregnant women and children. Limited financial resources and medical staff jeopardise access to medicines, prioritised care, and treatment for chronic illnesses, for both the migrant population and the host community.? As of August 2022, at least 102.067 migrants have entered through the Darien jungle, of which at least 67% are Venezuelan. ?

INFORMATION GAPS AND NEEDS

14/07/2022

Violence has become normalised and occurs with impunity, resulting in the underreporting of violent incidents. Internal displacement is often under-registered because of threats from armed groups against displaced people and people involved in the registration process. The extent and nature of confinement events are extremely difficult to quantify and characterise. The figures reported for affected populations tend to be under-registered, and the humanitarian response is often difficult to implement and may be delayed.

NATURAL HAZARDS

14/07/2022

Colombia is prone to frequent natural disasters. The rainy season (May–November) typically causes rivers to overflow, leading to road blockages, limitations to agricultural activities, and damage to crops, homes, schools, and other infrastructure. ?

During the dry season forest fires are common, destroying large hectares of forest and restricting access to crops, leading to food insecurity and health concerns.