ADRA Colombia supports hundreds who walk for days to reach the border.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Colombia is helping hundreds of Venezuelan migrants who are making their way back to their country on foot after losing their jobs in Colombia due to the pandemic crisis.
According to the Colombia Migration report of April 2020, more than 80,000 Venezuelans had returned home, out of the 1,825,000 spread across Colombia. The government reports that many continue to journey back home with their belongings after losing their home and a way to support their families.
Amid that situation, ADRA Colombia has set up an Adventist Mobile Unit on highways and at strategic points in cities like Bogotá, Medellín, Bucaramanga, and Cúcuta, where many travelers stop on the way to the northern border with Venezuela.
“Every week the mobile unit sets up in a pre-determined city with a working team that surveys the busiest roads and highways in communication with other agencies to better respond to cities where the demand for physical, emotional, and spiritual assistance increases,” said Jaír Florez, ADRA Colombia director. He said the journey is approximately 200 kilometers (about 125 miles), and could take four days or more traveling on foot or through challenging weather conditions.
The Adventist Mobile Unit, which is a joint project between ADRA International, ADRA Colombia, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has a staff consisting of a nurse, a pre-hospital care professional, a nurse’s assistant, and a social worker. The unit sees an average of 30 persons per day from Monday through Friday on the several designated cities and road spots.
- Venezuelan migrants wait at the Centenario Park in Bucaramanga, in north Colombia, to be assisted with medical services in late June 2020. [Photo: ADRA Colombia]