One million people have left Venezuela since November as the exodus from the crisis-hit South American country has continued to skyrocket, UN agencies said on Friday.
The latest increase has brought the total number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees abroad to 4 million, up from 695,000 in late 2015, when the opposition’s election victory set the stage for intensifying conflict with President Nicolas Maduro.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Colombia is the main destination, hosting 1.3 million Venezuelans, followed by Peru with 768,000.
Chile, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina host hundreds of thousands, while Central American and Caribbean states have also taken in significant amounts of people from Venezuela.
“Latin American and Caribbean countries are doing their part to respond to this unprecedented crisis,’’ Eduardo Stein, the UN refugee and migration manager for Venezuela, said.
“But they cannot be expected to continue doing it without international help,’’ Stein said.
A crisis plan to help 2.2 million exiled Venezuelans as well as their host communities was launched late 2018.
So far, only 21 per cent of the needed 738 million dollars have been funded by donor countries.
Venezuela has experienced a massive economic and political crisis under Maduro, who won a second term in an election boycotted by most of the opposition a year ago.
The dire situation has pushed Venezuelans to leave the country amid hyperinflation and goods shortages. (dpa/NAN)