COVID-19: COVID-19 confirmed cases have surpassed 250.000 nationwide. Although UNHCR has adapted to the situation, some activities are being affected because of the pandemic. In Ibarra, the Municipal Community Kitchen, supported by UNHCR and WFP, which provides 300 daily meals, had to close for temporarily due to COVID-19 cases among the staff.
BORDER MOVEMENTS: The southern border continues to be closed and has been militarized by the Peruvian Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Increased border enforcement has generated uncertainty among the Venezuelan population and periodic build-ups have occurred in border points.
At the northern border, Venezuelans’ arrivals have slightly decreased from 2,000 to 1,000 during the past two weeks, partly due to increased military activity in Colombia. Arrivals continue through less visible irregular paths, exposing refugees to greater risks.
PROTECTION CONCERNS: The militarization of the Peruvian border has reoriented the influx and increased protection concerns. Many Venezuelans are waiting in Ecuadorian cities for the situation at the southern border to improve, sleeping in the streets, and exposing themselves to severe risks and xenophobia. Additionally, COVID-19 has impacted refugees’ mental health and access to livelihoods. Many of them have been forced to engage in negative coping mechanisms such as survival sex to survive.
The number of newly arrived Colombians approaching UNHCR’s offices increased in January 2021. Most of them fled their country due to violence and threats from irregular armed groups.