Colombia + 1 more

Donor Update on UNHCR COVID-19 Response in Colombia - #13 (17 - 30 September 2020)



The Colombian Ministry of Health confirmed 862,158 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, 5 October, with Bogotá concentrating the highest number (276,839 confirmed cases). A total of 26,844 individuals have died from COVID-19 and 766,300 cases have recovered.

According to Migración Colombia, 110,917 Venezuelans have returned to Venezuela from or through Colombia as of Sunday, 4 October.

The number of Venezuelans stranded on the Colombian side of the border with the intention to return to Venezuela has decreased further: Migración Colombia reports on Tuesday, 22 September this number dropped to 719 (from 880 as registered on 8 September). In addition to the 478 Venezuelans in the Transitory Health Attention Center (CAST in Spanish) at the Tienditas International Bridge near Cúcuta, there are 376 Venezuelans in Hotel Villa Antigua, 396 Venezuelans in La Parada (Cúcuta) and 20 Venezuelans in the Scalabrini shelter.

GIFMM Cúcuta partners have witnessed an increasing number of arrivals from Venezuela, primarily through informal entry points with no sanitary controls since the Colombia-Venezuela border is still officially closed. Contingency plans are being evaluated to respond to a possible large-scale influx.

Between 10 and 23 September, GIFMM partners reported that 10,579 Venezuelans entered Colombia while 8,376 returned to Venezuela via 38 informal crossing points being monitored in the municipalities of Saravena, Arauquita and Arauca. On average, 80-100 Venezuelans entered daily via Arauca.

At the bus station in Maicao (La Guajira), UNHCR has also noted an increase in the number of Venezuelans arriving from Venezuela who express an intention to travel further inland. Bio-security measures (hand washing, temperature taking, disinfection of baggage, etc.) are implemented at the bus station by the Health Secretary as well as by bus companies.

Similar trends have been noted in Cali where UNHCR’s partner Alianza por la Solidaridad (APS) has identified an increase in the flow of Venezuelans moving in the direction of the southern borders with Ecuador and Peru (i.e., 200 Venezuelans per week). Venezuelans interviewed express intentions to enter Ecuador or Peru to reunify with relatives who could help them find employment.

As per GIFMM monitoring, between 12 June and 29 September, 774 eviction reports were registered (including 426 evictions and 348 risks) affecting 1,761 Venezuelans, as per the following breakdown: 53.7 percent females, 43.2 percent males and 0.5 percent others (2.6 percent does not have information disaggregated by gender). Additionally, 1,773 Venezuelans have identified themselves as being at risk of eviction.

According to external sources, seven massacres have occurred during the reporting period in the municipalities of Tarazá (Antioquia), Ocaña (Norte de Santander), Buenos Aires (Cauca), El Charco (Nariño), Algeciras (Huila), Quibdó (Chocó) and Soacha (Cundinamarca). These numbers show a growing tendency: September was the month with the most massacres in 2020, with at least 16 events registered.

The presence and hostilities between illegal armed actors, which have mostly caused these events, have also increased the risks of displacement in Chocó (Baudó River Basin) and Nariño (municipalities in Cordillera, Telembí, Pacífico Sur and Sanquianga subregions). In several cases, such hostilities have also made it impossible for people affected by mass displacements to return to their places of origin and have restricted humanitarian access to communities affected by confinement and restrictions on mobility in these same areas. Despite the fact that emergency aid has been provided in a number of events, it is still difficult for communities to report these events in a timely manner to the institutions responsible for providing assistance.