GENEVA – The United Nations included Venezuela within its annual contingency plans for the first time on Tuesday and said it will assist South American and Caribbean nations that have led the humanitarian assistance to the residents of the country that have been forced to flee as a result of the acute crisis it is enduring.
The UN’s plans will neighboring countries to cope with the inflow of millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants who have no prospect of returning in the short to medium term.
“There is one crisis which, for the first time, we have a response plan for, which is to help those countries neighboring Venezuela deal with the consequences of large numbers of Venezuelans leaving,” UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said.
The UN has estimated the Venezuelan crisis will require $738 million (648 million euros) to reach 2.2 million beneficiaries.
Lowcock explained that nearly all neighboring countries will obtain financial assistance according to their humanitarian work-load.
Lowcock added the UN had reinforced its health and food assistance to Venezuela and more can be done if the authorities voiced their agreement.
The Humanitarian aid chapter devoted to Venezuela states that 2.6 million nationals have fled the country due to the crisis and that 1.9 million left since 2015.
However, the UN warned of increased vulnerability among Venezuelan refugees, in recent months, after being forced to walk for weeks, sometimes crossing two borders before reaching their final destinations.
“In 2019, an estimated 3.6 million people will be in need of assistance and protection,” the UN appeal warned.
“What we have agreed with the government of Venezuela is we should strengthen our collaborative work and support for example in the area of health services and nutrition,” the coordinator added.