A $1.35 billion appeal has been launched to meet the increasing humanitarian needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean and to support the communities hosting them.
The ongoing political and economic crisis in the South American country has forced more than 4.6 million citizens to flee, nearly 80 per cent of whom are sheltering in the region.
If current trends continue, numbers could reach 6.5 million by next year, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which launched the plan on Wednesday.
“Only through a coordinated and harmonized approach will it be possible to effectively address the large-scale needs, which continue to increase and evolve as the current crisis deepens”, said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
The 2020 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) includes actions in nine key sectors such as health, education, protection, nutrition, shelter and humanitarian transport.
It also puts a strong focus on ensuring the social and economic inclusion of refugees and migrants.
The 2020 RMRP, as the plan is known, is the result of a wide-ranging consultation process that involved host Governments, civil society and faith-based organizations, local communities and donors, but also refugees and migrants themselves.
It is a coordination and fundraising tool established and implemented by nearly 140 organizations working across the region.
Mr. Stein underscored the need for increased resource mobilization.
“Despite many efforts and other initiatives, the dimension of the problem is greater than the current response capacity, so it is necessary that the international community doubles these efforts and contributions to help the countries and international organizations responding to the crisis”, he said.
“More support to governments is needed, with a focus on development concerns, in addition to immediate humanitarian needs.”