Two United Nations organizations launched a regional plan on Friday in response to the urgent needs of millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and to help the host communities, saying they need 738 million U.S. dollars in 2019.
The regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) effort is coordinated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), according to which Latin America faces the largest population outflow seen in recent years.
Officials said at a UN media briefing here that 95 organizations covering 16 countries have worked together to establish the comprehensive response.
"This plan is a call to the donor community, including international financial institutions and development actors who can play a key role in this situation," said Eduardo Stein, joint UNHCR-IOM special representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
"We are facing a humanitarian earthquake," he said, hence the emergency response.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said, "You have all sorts of reasons for which these people have left, ranging from pure hunger to violence and a lack of security."
"The level of solitary and openness that Latin American countries have shown to Venezuelans was remarkable, but the region was not prepared to deal with the massive outflow of people from the country," he noted.
In 2019, the RMRP's funding requirements will total 738 million U.S. dollars. Interventions will target 2.7 million people in 16 countries, 2.2 million of them Venezuelans and 500,000 people in host communities, said the UN.
Although Venezuelans have been leaving their country for several years, the exodus increased in 2017 and further accelerated in 2018, the agencies said, adding that the trends is likely to continue in 2019.
According to estimates, in 2018 an average of 5,500 people left the country every day.
On Nov. 9, UNHCR and the IOM said that the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide has now reached three million.
They said that countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host an estimated 2.4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, while other regions account for the rest.
Colombia hosts the highest number of Venezuelans, over one million, followed by Peru, with over half a million; Ecuador, over 220,000; Argentina, 130,000; Chile, over 100,000, and Brazil, with 85,000. Panama hosts 94,000 Venezuelans. Enditem