Brazil + 15 more

UNHCR Americas Operational Update, February 2022


Situational Highlights

A new Law in Chile established a procedure to “redirect” to the border refugees and migrants who enter the country through irregular crossings. This new measure comes into force amid heightened social tensions along Chile’s northern border with Bolivia and Peru and as police and military beef up their presence in the area.

Mixed movements in the region remain unpredictable. Venezuelans continue to make up the majority of those arriving to Panama through the Darien Gap, although Cubans, Haitians, and Senegalese people continue to arrive, as well.

In Mexico, asylum claims from Venezuelan nationals surpassed those received from Haitian and Honduran citizens in the first week of February.

Routes have become more complex as COVID-19-related travel and health restrictions limit official points of entry. The arrival of the seasonal rains and storms in the highlands of South America have further complicated matters. In Colchane, Chile, many refugees and migrants – including children – do not have appropriate clothing for the cold and rain.

In the absence of sufficient safe pathways, many are forced to resort to risky sea crossings. A baby died and the mother was injured during an interception at sea off the southeast coast of the island of Trinidad. The vessel, which was transporting Venezuelans, was intercepted by Trinidad and Tobago’s Coast Guard upon entering the island nation’s maritime territory.

Heavy flooding in Brazil andEcuador killed dozens and forced many others to leave their homes. Flooding in Haiti also forced some 2,500 families to seek temporary shelter, food, hygiene kits, and potable water.

To better understand the effectsof the COVID-19 pandemic on Venezuelan refugees and migrants, a study was conducted in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Curaçao, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. This study showed how lockdown, social isolation and forced evictions have particularly taken a particularly harsh toll on children and adolescents, female sex workers and indigenous people.