• Crisis Severity ?
    3.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    3.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    3.3
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    3.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 3,601,000 People affected [?]
  • 2,859,000 People displaced [?]
  • 3,601,000 People in Need [?]

Special Reports

21/01/2021

Overview

27/05/2021

Between 2015 and January 2021, the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population in Colombia rose from less than 39,000 to 1.72 million. As at December 2020, more than 720,000 Venezuelans legalised their status in Colombia; over one million remain in an irregular situation (i.e. undocumented). Between March–November 2020, more than 119,000 Venezuelans returned to their home country as a result of the precarious socio-economic conditions generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 40% of Venezuelan households in Colombia reported having no source of employment income, and 60% reported being able to eat only two meals a day. By 2021, an estimated 1.64 million Venezuelans intending to stay in Colombia will require humanitarian assistance.  ?

Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca, and Nariño departments are exposed to high levels of violence from armed groups, causing mass displacement and protection concerns. Armed attacks, clashes, and violence from organised crime groups along the Apure-Arauca border have led to further displacement and exposed both Colombian and Venezuelan communities to increased insecurity. People in irregular situations are particularly exposed to protection issues related to sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment, and forced labour –especially in border and rural areas. These populations often do not report violent incidents to the police for fear of deportation. Many refugees and migrants in urban areas are homeless or housed in informal and/or overcrowded shelters. These facilities often lack proper access to basic sanitation, leading to the spread of disease and increased protection risks. Discrimination and xenophobia towards Venezuelan refugees and migrants limit their access to social and economic services.  ?

In a survey of 3,100 Venezuelan refugee and migrant households, the primary needs reported were access to food (85% of households), shelter or housing support (68% of households), and employment or income sources (44% of households). Among the surveyed households, 46% of children aged 5–11 and 48% of children aged 12–17 reported not having access to virtual education during the COVID-19 pandemic.  ?

Latest Developments

20/08/2021

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

KEY PRIORITIES

27/05/2021

Health: In 2021 around 3.52 million refugees and migrants will need health assistance. There are enormous challenges in public health and humanitarian assistance, required to strengthen the response especially for the refugees and migrants in irregular situations.?

Food security: as at 2021, an estimated 3.2 million refugees and migrants are in need of food assistance and nutritional interventions. The departments most affected by food insecurity are La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Cesar, Arauca, and Nariño, followed by Antioquia, Atlántico, Boyacá, Bolívar, Cauca, and Valle del Cauca?

Protection: as at 2021, an estimated 3.44 million refugees and migrants are in need of protection assistance. Labour exploitation, sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment, theft, physical assault, and intimidation are among the primary incidents reported.?

IMPACT OF COVID-19

27/05/2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant regional population movements in Latin America, both inside countries and across borders. Many Venezuelan refugees and migrants working in the informal economy in Colombia, Brazil, and Peru have lost their livelihoods and face poverty, eviction, food insecurity, and increased protection risks. In 2020, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia decreased for the first time since 2015 as a result of the pandemic. On 13 March 2020, the Colombian Government announced the immediate closure of all borders to limit the spread of COVID-19. Two humanitarian corridors stayed open for returnees. As at 19 May 2021, the borders remained closed. On 13 March 2020 the Colombian government announced the immediate closure of all borders to limit the spread of COVID-19 but kept open two humanitarian corridors for returnees. As of 27 May 2021, the border remains closed.?

On 21 August 2020, Venezuelan authorities announced the closure of the humanitarian corridor in Norte de Santander – the main corridor used by returnees. This corridor remains closed as at 2021. This complex situation has resulted in overcrowding at different points along the border and high numbers of migrants crossing at irregular points.? 

Find more information about the global impact of COVID-19 here.

TEMPORARY PROTECTION STATUTE

27/05/2021

On 8 February 2021, Colombian President Iván Duque announced the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants. The Statute will support the regularisation of around one million Venezuelan refugees and migrants living in Colombia. This effort benefits Venezuelans with entry and stay permits as asylum seekers, holders of the ‘SC-2 laissez-passer’ document who are in the process of obtaining a visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and migrants in irregular situations who can prove they were in Colombia before 31 January 2021. The Statute will facilitate access to healthcare and legal employment opportunities for Venezuelan migrants and refugees. It will also allow Venezuelan migrants in Colombia to transit from a temporary protection regime to an ordinary migration procedure, giving them ten years to acquire a residency visa.?