Context and methodology
On the 21st of March, armed clashes broke out in Venezuela, as part of a military operation carried out by the Bolivarian National Air Force against an Organized Criminal Group in the town of La Victoria, in the municipality of Paez, Apure state. An estimated 4,501 Colombians and people in need of international protection (1,127 families), fled to Colombia, crossing the Colombian-Venezuelan border through the Arauca River through informal crossing points. The population fled to the border municipality of Arauquita, in the department of Arauca, settling in areas dispersed along the border. At least 19 locations have been identified where those displaced reside in the urban and rural areas of the municipality of Arauquita municipality.
The municipality of Arauquita informed the National Government that it does not have the capacity to cope with an emergency of this magnitude. Furthermore, as clashes are on-going, new movements may occur in the coming days, and the arrival of more people to Arauquita, Arauca and other neighboring municipalities is expected. The response, already at capacity, is further hampered due to the remote and dispersed nature of several of the places of where new arrivals have settled.
In order to estimate the priority needs of the population, identify response coverage, existing gaps and operational constraints, and anticipate how the situation could evolve in the immediate future, the organizations in Arauca, coordinated the Local GIFMM with support of the ELC (Local Coordination Team, or ¨ELC¨, by its Spanish acronym), decided to launch a Joint Initial Needs Assessment (or ¨ECNI¨, by its Spanish Acronym). On the 23rd and 24th of March, more than 20 interviewers from 13 organizations carried out data collection in 17 population concentration points in the municipality of Arauquita. The results are based on different perspectives: the organizations conducted 50 group discussions, involving 901 people from Venezuela in need of international protection, Colombians recently arrived from Venezuela and their host communities. In addition, the results within this report are based on direct observation, a review of secondary sources and surveys with 18 key informants, including community leaders (e.g. presidents of Community Action Boards), representatives of firefighters participating in the Unified Command Post (PMU), among others.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.