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Colombia: Population Movement, Information Bulletin no. 1

Situation Report
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The Situation

Starting on the morning of 21 March 2021, various sources, including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Interagency Group for Mix Migrations (GIFMM) reported massive movement of people to the municipality of Arauquita (Arauca, Colombia) in reaction to armed actions in the border state of Apure (Venezuela),

On 21 March, Colombian authorities activated a Unified Command Post (PMU) for coordination and monitoring of the situation. These have been used to identify approximately 57 points of concentration of people, most of which are self-organized or supported by the host community in the form of improvised shelters. One of these, organized by local institutions, is located in the urban centre of Arauquita.

The continuity of armed actions could cause new movements of people in the coming days. This situation challenges the national and international organizations' capability to meet intersectoral needs.

On 26 March, between 1,000 and 1,200 people arrived en masse to Arauquita2 . On 27 March, local reports indicated the arrival of 53 families to the Charo Bajo 2 village, a rural area of the Saravena municipality. On 28 March, the Arauquita government reports approximately 4,741 displaced people, including Venezuelans and Colombians from Venezuela, were located in 19 temporary shelters.

According to the Colombian Red Cross Society’s (CRCS) Situation Report no. 5, the census conducted on 2 April reported approximately 5,538 people affected (1,505 families) located in 3 temporary shelters. Some families are returning to their homes in Venezuela to collect essential goods, which creates a pendular flow during daytime hours. According to the CRCS Situation Report no.6 , the number of displaced people has increased to 5,737 people, 1,820 families in 57 points of concentration. Pendular movement is also occurring between Arauquita and Saravena (Arauca, Colombia). There have been reports of displacements between Apure (Venezuela) to Toledo 8Norte de Santander, Colombia).

The river transport at the "Las Canoas" border crossing between Arauquita and La Victoria has been suspended. For this reason, the vast majority of the population movement into Colombia is taking place through multiple informal passing locations. On 28 March, the Colombian Ministry of the Interior declared a public calamity in the Arauca department. While there is no decree for the state of public calamity, this announcement facilitates national and international humanitarian aid response to the area.

According to the last report by the Intersectoral Mechanism of Emergency Response (MIRE), people continue to arrive at the shelters, community halls, and family homes in Arauquita. In this context, it is deemed necessary to increase humanitarian organizations' presence in the territory to support the basic needs of the people in Arauquita.