Tags: Immigration | Latin America | United Nations | nicolas maduro | un | refugees | migration

Report: More Than 5M Venezuelans Expected to Flee by Year-End

Venezuelan migrant couple Johan Alvarez and Daniela Tovar, with their son Matias, speak during an interview
Venezuelan migrant couple Johan Alvarez and Daniela Tovar, with their son Matias, speak during an interview outside a refugee office run by Peru's Special Commission for Refugees Executive Secretariat. (Martin Mejia/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 19 June 2019 07:46 PM

More than five million Venezuelans are expected to flee economic and political chaos to seek refuge elsewhere by the end of 2019 — and the crisis is overwhelming education and health systems across South America, Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Eduardo Stein, the United Nation's official overseeing Venezuelan relief efforts, said the crisis is unprecedented in a country not at war or suffering a major national disaster — and called on the international community to step up support for countries taking in refugees from the socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro.

"There is an unmeetable level of demand which has . . . totally superseded the capacity in the education and health systems," he told FT. "Unless there is a stronger response from the international donor community, we foresee severe difficulties in the receiving countries."

According to FT, the exodus has accelerated over the past three years as shortages of food, water and fuel grip the once-wealthy oil-exporting nation that has crumbled under Maduro. 

Venezuelans filed more asylum claims last year than citizens of any other country including Syria, and more than 10% of the population has already left, according to a report from the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, the news outlet reported.

The largest group of Venezuelan refugees — 1.3 million — is staying in neighboring Colombia. Refugees also are seeking shelter in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina, FT reported.

Stein told FT that since last November, the number of refugees and migrants increased by 1 million, with departures averaging 5,000 a day. Recent spikes have hit as many as 100,000 over a three-day period, he said.

The UNHCR described Venezuela in its report as “one of the biggest displacement crises in the world and the biggest exodus in the region's recent history," FT reported.

Venezuelans made 341,800 new asylum claims in 2018, surpassing countries such as Syria and Afghanistan and accounting for more than one in five of all new asylum claims submitted worldwide, FT reported.

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By the end of 2019 more than five million Venezuelans are expected to flee economic and political chaos to seek refuge elsewhere, according to Financial Times.
nicolas maduro, un, refugees, migration, asylum
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2019-46-19
Wednesday, 19 June 2019 07:46 PM
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