Humanitarian needs in Colombia remain high, due to the influx of vulnerable Venezuelans and Colombian returnees crossing into Colombia as a result of the escalating economic and political crisis in Venezuela, as well as internal conflict and periodic natural disasters in Colombia.
Despite the peace accords between the Government of Colombia (GoC) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, internal conflict between armed groups continues to displace households in Colombia. In 2018, an estimated 145,000 Colombians were forcibly displaced inside the country, representing an increase from the number of people displaced in 2017, according to the UN. Limited employment opportunities make it difficult for households displaced by internal violence and the host communities sheltering them to consistently access enough nutritious food. In particular, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and members of indigenous communities suffer from a higher-than-average prevalence of malnutrition, according to GoC authorities.
Additionally, the political and economic crisis in neighboring Venezuela has resulted in an influx of vulnerable Venezuelans and Colombian returnees crossing into Colombia in search of food, medical care, and livelihood opportunities. The influx has strained health and social services across the country, particularly in communities along the Colombia–Venezuela border, including Arauca, La Guajira and Nortede Santander departments. As of September 2019, an estimated 1.9 million people in Colombia—including Venezuelans, Colombian returnees, and host community members—were in need of assistance due to the Venezuela regional crisis.
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to respond to the effects of the Venezuela regional crisis in Colombia, as well as ongoing internal violence. FFP-funded food assistance programs support vulnerable IDPs, host community members, Colombian returnees, and Venezuelans across Colombia who lack access to sufficient nutritious food.
In 2019, FFP partnered with WFP to provide U.S.-grown in-kind food aid and food vouchers to more than 30,000 people affected by conflict or natural disasters across the country. Additionally, WFP provides training and technical assistance for rural smallholder farmers, as well as activities aimed at building resilience and expanding livelihood opportunities in communities affected by conflict and natural disasters.
Additionally, in 2019 WFP assisted approximately 270,000 people in Colombia—with support from FFP and other international donors—affected by the Venezuela regional crisis. FFP also partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to fund cash transfers and nutrition training, enabling vulnerable families impacted by the Venezuela regional crisis to purchase nutritious foods in markets while supporting local economies.