More than 1 million Venezuelans have migrated into Columbia to escape political and economic instability.
April 14, 2019
/ Bogota Columbia
/ Libna Stevens/IAD
For the past seven months, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Colombia has been providing assistance to thousands of migrating Venezuelans who have crossed into the eastern border of Colombia to escape the economic and political instability in their homeland. The project represents an assistance of over 2.5 million US dollars, the largest the Adventist agency has been managing in the country, ADRA Colombia officials said.
According to recent government statistics, there are more than 1.1 million Venezuelans who have migrated into Colombia recently, making up 30 percent of the population mainly stationed at bordering regions with Venezuela. Some 23 percent of those migrants have settled in the capital city of Bogota, and 41 percent are living an irregular or unstable conditions, explained Gabriel Villarreal, ADRA Colombia director.
“We noticed the influx of people and noticed that many who came into the country without their proper documentation, were not able to have medical access in Colombia for a designated period of time, so we came up with a project to offer free health assistance to thousands of Venezuelans” said Villarreal.
So far ADRA Colombia staff and volunteers have provided medical consults to thousands of people in migrant communities settled in the city of Bucaramanga, which is 200 kilometers from the main border crossing in Cucuta, Colombia with Venezuela. These consults include free medical check-ups, lab tests if necessary, as well as medications to thousands of families across Bucaramanga and Medellin—the second largest city in Colombia some 390 kilometers west of Bucaramanga.