Colombia: Population Movement - Operations Update n° 2 (MDRCO014)

In the past month, the numbers of people on the move has dramatically increased with an upsurge of adults and children walking from destination to destination. The Colombian Red Cross Society (CRCS) has faced challenges due to the changing nature of this population flow, which has led to modifying fixed aid units in the border areas to the establishment of mobile aid points along the roads where this population transits.

The CRCS is prioritizing healthcare, restoring family contacts (RCF), distribution of individual and family food kits, provision of water, bedding material kits and orientation to the population on the move. Based on the 8 August 2018 revision of this Emergency Appeal, increased funds have been allocated to the health care needs of this population.

However, this coverage does not include the provision of basic medication or the ability to respond in other prioritized areas such as water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; livelihoods; protection, gender and inclusion; or National Society development; in addition to the support services required to implement an emergency response of this magnitude.

On the part of the Colombian Red Cross Society, the IFRC reiterates its request for further support to this Emergency Appeal. An increase in coverage for this Emergency Appeal will permit the Colombian Red Cross to reach at least 120,000 people with a comprehensive humanitarian response that reflects the current needs of the population on the move.

July 2017: The migratory flow increases significantly across the Colombia – Venezuela border. 236,295 Swiss francs from the DREF fund are allocated for the CRCS response.

October 2017: The volume of the migratory flow continues, prompting a six-month extension to the operation. Coverage and resources are increased to 297,157 Swiss francs, and 231,836 people are reached in 2017.

February 2018: The president of Colombia expresses his willingness to receive international support to respond to the migratory situation. The Colombian government’s UNGRD requests complementary support from the CRCS in this regard.

March 2018: The IFRC launches an Emergency Appeal for 2.2 million Swiss francs to assist 120,000 people for 12 months.

April 2018: The IFRC issues the first revision of the Emergency Appeal seeking 2.5 million Swiss Francs to assist 120,000 people, including an increased budget to expand the coverage of the protection and migration activities.

July 2018: Operations update no. 1 issued.

August 2018: Migration mobilization intensifies and humanitarian needs increase, health care and demand become a priority; the IFRC issues a second revision of the appeal for CHF 4,890,382, which expands the scope of the health activities.


Migration flow through and into Colombia has been steadily increasing over the past three years. Currently , there are more than 1.1 million people in need in the country, including both migrants and Colombian citizens returning to the country.1 As expected, this situation keeps increasing the level of humanitarian needs in the transit zones, temporary settlements and host communities in Colombia, with a special emphasis on the Colombia- Venezuela and Colombia- Ecuador border crossings. With an estimated 6 million Venezuelan nationals who have migrated, in August 2018 ACNUR- OIM figures indicated that 90 per cent are in nearby South American countries.

The Colombian government implemented a system of Administrative Registration of Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia (RAMV) in 2018, which initially counted more than 442,000 Venezuelan citizens in country; however, as of July 2018,

Migration Colombia Department estimated that around 870,000 Venezuelan nationals were in Colombia.

The migratory flow in Colombia continues through regular border routes and irregular crossings; the uncertainty and concern about the migratory flow in Colombia increased in August 2018 since the governments of Ecuador and Peru took measures to control migration such as requiring a passport for entry into the countries, which further complicates the situation in Colombia and increases humanitarian needs. In response, the CRCS, Colombian authorities and other actors have ramped up their provision of services to respond to the growing needs.

The migration situation is affecting other regional countries ; in just the first half of 2018, 315,000 people entered Ecuador via the Rumichaca Bridge, which connects the country to Colombia, representing a 36 per cent increase in the number of people leaving Colombia compared to the previous year.

There are no official figures on the number of people entering Colombian territory through informal border crossings, and there is great concern, as these crossings pose risks to migrants’ safety due to the presence of non-state armed groups and drug trafficking cartels.

In March 2018, authorities began providing permits to facilitate access to basic supplies in the markets in border areas in Colombia; the government has also provided temporary accommodation for people and limited access to certain services such as emergency health and education. In addition, the Colombian government granted 1,600,000 Border Mobilization Cards (TMF) to people entering and departing the country and 170,000 Special Permanent Permits (PEP) to migrants, out of which over 100,000 were issued in 2018 alone.

In cooperation with IOM and UNHCR, the migration authorities carried out a voluntary survey called the Administrative registry of Venezuelan Migrants (RAMV for its acronym in Spanish), from 6 April to 8 June 2018; the survey identified 442,462 people belonging to 253,575 families mainly in the departments of Norte de Santander (18.6 per cent), Guajira (16.92 per cent) and the Bogota Capital District (9.83 per cent). Although the survey does not cover the full range of people on the move, it has been useful for the Colombian authorities’ design of future aid policies.