Venezuelan Migrants Find Temporary Respite at UN Camp in Colombia

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The Venezuelan refugee crisis continues. Driven by hyperinflation and the growing lack of food and medicine, over 1.2 million refugees have entered Colombia in order to find food and a place to stay. The country has discouraged for some time the building of refugee camps. The government is concerned that the camps for the displaced might attract more migrants to stay in the country, which would grow more chaotic for Colombians to adjust.

In spite of this, the migrants surged into the town of Maicao, an impoverished town located south of the country. Because of the number of refugees in the town, the local government called upon the United Nations to help set up a camp for the migrants. The only one of its kind in the country, the UN camp has around sixty tents and would provide temporary respite for the migrants.

The town of Maicao has over 160,000 people and the added migrants increase the number by 17%. This causes some strains in the delivery of basic services such as schools and hospitals. Most of the migrants that have arrived lived in the streets. Some migrants note that they would rarely get any sleep due to the need to protect their children. They also barely earn a few dollars a day just to survive. The outpour of refugees compelled the mayor, Felipe Munoz, to seek the aid of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).

The camp’s sixty tents could only accommodate 350 people. As of recently, 480 migrants reside in the camp, which is a serious case of overcrowding.

Another serious concern faced by the locals is that while they tolerate the presence of the refugees, they fear that the increased number of migrant workers might challenge the prospects for Colombians to get employment.

However, the UN has emphasized that the camp is temporary and that the government of Colombia will prepare other means to secure housing and better jobs for refugees.

 

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