The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has stated that the scale of needs resulting from the outflow of Venezuelans is rapidly surpassing the capacities of receiving and transit countries, further straining already vulnerable host communities. In many of the arriving areas there are pre-existing conditions of vulnerability and weak or lack of health, education and protection services. This is according to the latest report produced by the body.
According to UNHCR-IOM, around 2.3 million people have migrated from Venezuela in the last three years, 1.6 million of these to South American countries; actual figures may be higher considering unregistered flows of population and the lack of consolidated data.
The report noted that based on preliminary estimations at transit/receiving country level, at least 438,000 children would be in need of assistance.
In receiving and transit countries such as Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador and Peru, children on the move – particularly those living in temporary shelters, informal settlements or slums – are the most vulnerable. Access to registration, protection mechanisms, inclusive education, integral health, nutrition services, safe water, sanitation, hygiene, adequate temporary or permanent housing, are some of the most urgent priorities, it stated.
Governments in countries receiving migrants have set in place exceptional measures to address the situation, including the declaration of State of Emergency in some regions in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. In addition, new monitoring and regulation mechanisms are gradually being implemented and discussed mainly among governments in the Andean Region, to share information and establish a coordinated response strategy.
Further, in response to the increased migration flows and the request of the most affected countries, UNICEF’s Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office (LACRO) has revised its Regional Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal to include key response interventions in receiving and transit countries. Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru and Eastern Caribbean Area (ECA) Country Offices are currently implementing specific response plans.
Situation Overview & Needs
The number of people migrating from Venezuela worldwide has been increasing in the last few months. With the arrival of population on the move, local capacities and systems in receiving countries are being overstretched in already vulnerable host communities.
While the situation is evolving and assessments are ongoing, available figures do not fully depict the extent of the situation; it is estimated that more than 1.6 million people have arrived in South America alone since 2015. Children in the context of migration and their families, particularly indigenous people, are among the most vulnerable.
Despite efforts made by host and transit countries to guarantee children’s rights, major gaps remain. Children and their families face challenges to regularize their immigration status, which affects their access to social protection, health, early childhood development, education, sustainable livelihoods and child protection. Irregular migration is putting children at higher risk of discrimination, violence, xenophobia, exploitation and abuse in destination countries. (Image BBC)