Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.20 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.5.00 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.00 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.3.60 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.4.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Humanitarian Access Overview
CrisisInSIght: Global Risk Analysis
Colombia and Venezuela: Needs and vulnerabilities of the Cam...
Venezuela: COVID-19 outbreak overwhelms health system
The deepening political and socio-economic crisis in Venezuela has led to the collapse of services, deterioration of living conditions, and one of the biggest mass displacements in the history of South America. ?
Inside Venezuela, hyperinflation and increased prices have reduced access to food, medicines, and other basic goods, while the general availability of goods is hampered by import restrictions. In recent years, malnutrition has reached emergency thresholds for children under 5, with 50% exhibiting some degree of malnutrition, and some 280,000 at risk of death due to undernourishment. Pregnant women and people in impoverished parts of the country are also more vulnerable to malnutrition. ?
The population is increasingly poor, with more people falling below the poverty line as well as worsening poverty levels, more vulnerable to epidemic outbreaks, and lacking access to basic services and food. In 2020 the poverty rate (3,2 $/day) has reached 76% ?The health system is disrupted by shortages of medical supplies, medicine, and personnel departures. Incidence of vector-borne diseases has risen and preventable diseases such as measles have re-emerged. Access to clean water is increasingly difficult due to the collapse of basic services, exacerbating water and sanitation problems. Only 18% of the population residing inside Venezuela receive clean water in a continuous and consistent way and only 10% have continuous access to electricity. The current crisis has also led to an increase in repression and human rights abuses. Arbitrary detention of over 900 people for political reasons has been reported. ?INFORM measures Venezuela's risk of humanitarian crisis in 2020 as medium at 4.6/10. ?
Heavy rains beginning 22 August in Mérida state (western Venezuela) have resulted in the overflow of several rivers, flooding with debris, and landslides. As at 29 August heavy rains had hit several states of Venezuela, affecting more than 54,500 people in 87 municipalities across 11 states. More than 8,000 houses were destroyed by the floods, displacing nearly 35,600 people. Mérida remains the most affected state, with around 800 houses severely damaged or destroyed. Evacuation centres have been set up for some of the displaced, others are hosted by friends or relatives. Landslides have blocked some roads, hampering humanitarian access. The government announced a state of emergency for 90 days to deal with the disaster caused by the floods in the west and the south of the country. Health, shelter, food, NFIs and WASH needs are reported.?
Very high constraints
The Venezuelan Government acknowledges that there are humanitarian needs in the country, but official data does not reflect the real scale of these, and the Government attributes them in large part to sanctions imposed by the United States. Needs related to COVID-19 have also been downplayed, and official figures do not portray the actual situation, preventing people from accessing adequate health assistance. Access to aid is hampered by widespread fuel shortages, blackouts, and insecurity. Clashes between Colombian armed groups and Venezuelan armed forces have displaced thousands of Venezuelans and limited their access to services and aid. Humanitarian aid is often politicised; since December 2020, there has been an increase in harassment and intimidation of civil society groups, NGOs, human rights organisations, and media outlets by the Government. This includes freezing bank accounts and other banking restrictions (such as constant monitoring of transactions), arrest warrants, raiding offices, and detaining members of these organisations. National NGOs face bureaucratic restrictions in registering and updating registration, which causes months of delays in their activities. Humanitarian organisations also face severe physical and logistical challenges, including fuel shortages that hinder the implementation of activities even after obtaining the necessary permits to operate. Land borders remain closed because of COVID-19, which largely prevents people from seeking assistance in neighbouring countries or forces them to cross borders irregularly.
Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.
In December 2020, after winning 91% of seats in the National Assembly with a low voter turnout, President Nicolás Maduro’s government gained formal control of all major political institutions in Venezuela. The post-electoral period has left the
opposition weakened and holding very limited political power.? It has also been accompanied by an increase in harassment and intimidation of civil society organisations (CSOs) and groups, NGOs, and media outlets by security forces, including office raids, detention of members/staff, arrest warrants, and the freezing of bank accounts.? Such activities are expected to continue over the next six months.
National NGOs will continue to face increased difficulties in registering or updating their registration, resulting in months of delays in the implementation of activities or the suspension of operations. The situation risks being further aggravated by the November 2020 announcement by the new National Assembly of a new law meant to significantly restrict the access of NGOs to foreign funding.? Humanitarian constraints and harassment against humanitarian organisations will likely force many national CSOs, NGOs, and INGOs to suspend or close their operations, decreasing their ability to implement programmes to respond to people’s needs. This could likely increase the number of people in need in Venezuela.
Nationwide fuel shortages are hampering the movement of people and goods, including humanitarian aid, and limiting people’s access to food and essential services such as healthcare. The economic crisis is also a driver of humanitarian needs in the country. Hyperinflation is causing price increases and household purchasing power is low, as illustrated by the monthly minimum wage - which could buy less than 2% of the monthly basic food basket in November 2020.? The price of food and services is likely to increase or remain the same, while the minimum wage will likely decrease and hyperinflation will continue. As a result, access to basic services and goods, including food, will be very limited.
Significantly reduced access to basic services, goods, and humanitarian assistance, coupled with the effects of COVID-19, is expected to lead to worse living conditions and a severe rise in humanitarian needs.? A survey conducted by FAO in nine states of Venezuela in September 2020 showed that over 70% of those surveyed did not have enough food or limited the diversity of their diet, and more than 50% reported consuming less healthy and nutritious food.? Food security and nutrition are expected to deteriorate because of decreased purchasing power, as well as local food production challenges.? Continuation of or increases in fuel shortages will affect overall movement and humanitarian access to people in need of assistance, as well as the entire food production chain - especially food distribution in indigenous communities and hard-to-reach areas.? Fuel shortages will also affect Venezuelans who travel across the country to cross the border into Colombia. The lack of public transport will force people to journey on foot, putting them at risk of extortion, physical and/or sexual violence, and exploitation.
Worsening living conditions and a significant increase in humanitarian needs are likely to lead to increased migration and displacement flows. Over 330,000 Venezuelans are projected to leave the country and be in transit throughout the region in 2021. According to some sources, this number could be higher - if not double - if the border between Colombia and Venezuela reopens.? Of the 330,000, an estimated 160,000 migrants and refugees will pass through Colombia, over 90,000 through Ecuador, around 76,000 through Peru, and around 3,000 through Central America and Mexico.? These are estimates based on the continuation of a deteriorating trend; the number could also be higher if NGOs are significantly hampered in their operations. Insecurity, violence, and persecution are other reasons for leaving Venezuela and are expected to drive migration and refugee movements, as the excessive use of force by government forces increases.?
Read the full Global Risk Analysis here.
IMPACT OF COVID-19
Many Venezuelan refugees and migrants working in the informal economy in Colombia, Brazil, and Peru have lost their livelihoods and face poverty, evictions, food insecurity, and increased protection risks as a result of the pandemic. Around 105,000 Venezuelans have returned to Venezuela since March.?In 13 March the Colombian government announced the immediate closure of all borders to limit the spread of the virus but kept open two humanitarian corridors for returnees. On 21 August, Venezuelan authorities closed the humanitarian corridor from Norte de Santander, the main one used by returnees. This has left thousands of Venezuelans stranded along the border.?
As of 29 April 2021, about 195,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Venezuela. Limited testing means this figure is likely an underestimate. 40% of all cases have been in the border states of Zulia, Apure, Bolívar and Táchira. Returnees that test positive are sent to temporary shelters for a 15-day quarantine. These shelters have been lacking food supplies since the beginning of the outbreak. Venezuela’s healthcare system urgently needs medical staff, supplies and equipment, and water, sanitation and hygiene services.?
Find more information about the global impact of COVID-19 here.
A recent food security assessment published by the World Food Program estimates that 2.3 million Venezuelans are severely food insecure (IPC Phase 4) and additional seven million are moderately food insecure (IPC Phase 3). The assessment was carried out in Venezuela between July and September 2019. One out of three Venezuelans is food insecure and in need of assistance. The most affected states are: Delta Amacuro, Amazonas, Falcon, Zulia and Bolivar.
Although food is available, access to it is difficult as prices are too high due to hyperinflation. 74% of households experience a food insecurity level between moderate to high and 80% of the population have insufficient income to buy food and have engaged in coping strategies such as reduced portion size of meals, accepting food as payment or sell family assets to cover basic needs. Access to potable water, irregular gas supply and lack of dietary diversity are also major concerns.?
This is one of the first assessments to come out with data regarding the humanitarian situation in Venezuela as the Government has historically placed access restrictions for international organizations. It is unclear whether additional assessments will be undertaken in the country. ?
- Food security: Food security is deteriorating, particularly due to hyperinflation. A recent survey estimates that around 2.3 million Venezuelans are severely food insecure (IPC Phase 4) and additional seven million are moderately food insecure (IPC Phase 3). ?
- Health: The health system in the country has been particularly affected. It is estimated that 40% of hospitals in the country lack electricity and 70% do not have regular access to water. A recent survey carried out in March 2020 also report shortages of gloves, desinfenctant, soap and face masks ?
Update from the October 2020 Risk Analysis
The reactivation of Colombia’s economic activity leads to a large influx of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, who will face increased livelihood and protection needs aggravated by a rise in xenophobia
The risk for Colombia/Venezuela identified in the previous ACAPS Global Risk Analysis has materialised, with a moderate impact. On 1 September 2020, Colombia lifted most COVID-
19-related restrictions that were having an impact on the economy. As a result, many Venezuelan refugees and migrants decided to return to Colombia or migrate for the first time, despite the border remaining closed until at least 1 June 2021.? As at 31 December 2020, there were 1.7 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia; of these, an estimated 967,000 were without regular status.?
As a result of the pandemic, the economic resources of Colombian households have decreased, which has led to increased competition over resources between members of host communities and Venezuelans, contributing to a rise in xenophobia.? Host community members have shown their discontent at the increased presence of Venezuelan refugees and migrants through protests, physical and psychological violence, hate speech, and discrimination.? Comments on social media reflect polarisation and worsening perceptions of Venezuelans in Colombia.?
The closed border and lack of documentation have led to an increase in Venezuelans in Colombia with irregular status and no access to basic services, which also leads to protection concerns. On 8 February however, Colombian President Iván Duque presented the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants for the regularisation of around 1 million Venezuelans who can prove they were in Colombia before 31 January 2021. This will facilitate their access to healthcare and legal employment opportunities.?
Read the October 2020 Risk Analysis here.
Risk of conflict at the Colombia - Venezuela border
On 23 March, clashes between some FARC dissidents and the Venezuelan army erupted on the Colombia-Venezuela border. Since then, the Venezuelan army has maintained intermittent operations against the armed group Martin Villa 10th Front in Apure state. Following the clashes, 5,000 Venezuelans were displaced to the Arauca department, on the Colombian side of the border. Over the past two months, some FARC dissidents have been threatening the local population in border states with new conflicts against criminal groups for territorial control. Indigenous groups are particularly affected and targeted because living in areas contested by both armed criminal groups and FARC dissidents. They are at increased risk of targeted killings and land dispossession. Increased levels of violence may also lead to further displacement, confinements, and protection concerns. Venezuela is already in the midst of a socioeconomic crisis and has limited resources to respond to the security crisis. Given the reduced humanitarian response capacity in Venezuela, a possible escalation in conflict is likely to increase migration flows to Colombia and protection risks for host communities, as well as generate shelter, WASH, and health needs. Available basic services in displacement areas are already overwhelmed. ?