Venezuela crisis

Eligio’s children were surviving on just one small meal a day.

When his daughter died for want of medicine, he knew it was time for the family to seek safety and make the dangerous journey to Brazil.
Photo: ©UNHCR/Reynesson Damasceno

Families like Eligio’s have suffered years of hardship. Now they are far from home, struggling to survive. Please help provide the aid they urgently need.


to protect those who’ve fled with nothing. 


to keep hungry families alive and well. 

Clean water

to prevent the spread of deadly diseases like cholera.  

What’s happening in Venezuela?

Venezuela is in the middle of a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. More than four million people have left the country amidst violence and crippling food shortages – making it the biggest exodus in South America’s recent history. 

UNHCR is supporting refugees with shelter, food and clean water, and legal support.


Why are food and medicine scarce in Venezuela?

Political turmoil has caused the Venezuelan economy to implode in recent years – leading to chronic shortages of basic supplies. In parts of this oil-rich country, fuel has become scarce and drivers queue for days at petrol stations. Meanwhile across the country, blackouts are frequent, medicine is in short supply and millions of families go hungry. 

Hyperinflation puts what little basic supplies are available out of reach of most ordinary families. In 2018, inflation was reported to have reached a staggering 1.3 million per cent over one year.

Where are Venezuelan families fleeing to?

Families are travelling across Latin America and the Caribbean – especially to Colombia, but also to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and beyond. These host countries have been welcoming, but they are increasingly overstretched and some are reaching a saturation point.

What dangers do they face en route?

Fleeing families often take irregular routes to find safety, crossing fast-flowing rivers or braving treacherous footpaths to reach their destinations. Many fall prey to smugglers, traffickers and armed groups on the way, and unaccompanied or separated children are particularly vulnerable.

Where is UNHCR working?

UNHCR is on the ground across the region and has a strong presence around key border crossing points – protecting fleeing families from danger and providing the essentials they need to survive. As well as providing life-saving aid and safe shelter, UNHCR teams also provide legal support, such as informing families of their right to seek asylum.

Where can I access the latest data?

Venezuela Situation Portal – for latest updates on the crisis overall, including UNHCR situation reports, funding requirements and UNHCR’s support for neighbouring countries taking in Venezuelan refugees.

Did you know that in the five years ending 2018 there was an 8,000% increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status?

Valentina has known hunger and hardship for much of her young life.

When her family left Venezuela in search of a better life, they headed to Colombia – never knowing what they might find there.

Thankfully, they reached a communal kitchen supported by UNHCR, where 5,000 free meals are served each day to help families like Valentina’s stay alive and well.

Photo: ©UNHCR/Siegfried Modola

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