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Isaac Cardenas, 9, plays with his gameboy inside a UNICEF tent on Aug. 7, 2018 in Rumichaca, on the border of Ecuador and Colombia. Here, mothers and their children can spend the night free of cold and rain. Hundreds of children arrive every day with their parents coming from Venezuela to the Ecuadorian northern border.
© Santiago Arcos/UNICEF
Citizenship

Venezuelan Crisis Will Put 1.1 Million Children in Need of Assistance, UN Says


Why Global Citizens Should Care
In recent years, millions of people have fled the political and economic crisis in Venezuela that has caused widespread poverty and suffering. The mass migration out of the country has created a global crisis in which children are especially vulnerable. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Venezuela used to be one of the richest countries and most stable democracies in the Latin American region. Today it’s a nation struggling with political and economic chaos, leading to shortages of both food and medicine.

The hardest hit by the ongoing crisis? Children.

Approximately 1.1 million children in Latin America and the Caribbean are in need of access to basic services and protection — or will be by the end of 2019 — due to Venezuela’s crisis and related mass migration, UNICEF said Friday.

Take Action: Help Kids Facing Conflict and Crisis Stay in School

Though Venezuela has been in turmoil for more than a decade, people began fleeing the crisis in 2015. But the situation has dramatically worsened after last year’s controversial presidential election.

Currently, about half a million people are in need of assistance, UNICEF said. However, as more and more people flee widespread poverty and violence in Venezuela, humanitarian organizations estimate that 4.9 million people region will be affected and ultimately need assistance.

Venezuela Humanitarian Situation

Venezuela Humanitarian Situation
Laila Dalila Leon, 3 years old, sits on the shoulders of her father, Jose Ramon Leon. Jose was a fisherman in Venezuela, but now he is traveling with his wife and two daughters to Quito, where he has heard that work and accommodation can be obtained more easily.
© Santiago Arcos/UNICEF

Venezuela Humanitarian Situation

Venezuela Humanitarian Situation
Katty Baez helps her son Alfredo, 1, with a juice box in Rumichaca on the border of Ecuador and Colombia. Katty is traveling to Peru with her two children to meet her husband, who has been there for 8 months.
© Santiago Arcos/UNICEF

Venezuela Humanitarian Situation

Venezuela Humanitarian Situation
Maria Belen Rodriguez, a UNICEF Ecuador official, fills out forms and delivers blankets to Venezuelan women and children in Rumichaca, on the border of Ecuador and Colombia.
© Santiago Arcos/UNICEF

With the numbers of those in need expected to increase drastically, UNICEF said in a press release it was “particularly concerned about reports of xenophobia, discrimination, and violence perpetrated against Venezuelan children and families in host communities.”

The agency called on governments to uphold the rights of all children — including migrants and refugees.

Read More: 7 Things You Should Know About the Crisis in Venezuela

Experts urged the UN to issue an even stronger statements with regard to the crisis on Friday, calling on the organization to declare a full-on humanitarian emergency, the Guardian reported.

“Venezuela’s health system is in utter collapse, which, combined with widespread food shortages, is piling suffering upon suffering and putting even more Venezuelans at risk,” said Shannon Doocy, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, who has conducted research at Venezuela’s border. “We need UN leadership to help end this severe crisis and save lives.”