COVID-19 crisis exacerbates humanitarian needs among Venezuelans across LAC region, triggers influx of returnees to Venezuela
USG announces more than $138 million in humanitarian funding for response to the Venezuela regional crisis
WFP assessment estimates more than two million people in Venezuela were in need of emergency food assistance as of mid-2019
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention and mitigation measures in countries hosting Venezuelan migrants and refugees—including quarantine orders, border closures, and movement restrictions—and resultant economic hardships have contributed to an influx of returns to Venezuela, primarily from Colombia, as well as from Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, according to relief actors and government officials. The UN estimates that as many as 60,000 Venezuelans had voluntarily returned to the country as of early May. Humanitarian organizations remain concerned over Venezuela’s capacity to receive and assist returnees, as well as the health and protection risks associated with return movements in border areas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, the UN World Food Program (WFP) released the results of an emergency food security assessment (EFSA) conducted from July to September 2019, indicating that approximately 2.3 million Venezuelans were severely food insecure and required emergency food assistance, while an additional 7 million Venezuelans were experiencing moderate food insecurity. Relief actors have since expressed concern that the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are now exacerbating food insecurity on top of the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced more than $138 million in additional U.S. Government (USG) humanitarian funding to support efforts to respond to the Venezuela regional crisis, including inside of Venezuela, on May 20. The funding—comprising approximately $62 million from State/PRM, nearly $57 million from USAID/FFP, and nearly $20 million from USAID/OFDA—will enable nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies to continue providing critical multi-sector support to vulnerable populations across the region.