Humanitarian crisis. Children are dying of malnutrition. People are dying for lack of medicines and health care. Public health efforts like essential vaccinations have ceased in many places. The first case of polio in decades has been reported. Infant mortality rates increased 30 percent in a single year (2015 to 2016), and maternal mortality spiked by 65 percent during the same period. Rapid inflation, low stocks of food and staple goods have made life very difficult for all but the wealthiest. On average, Venezuelans lost 24 pounds last year due to food shortages, according to a recent study that made news headlines.
Leaders from 50 countries recently implored Venezuela’s leadership to change course, restore the rule of law and open the door for humanitarian aid in hopes of stemming the refugee tide. We add our voice to that call.
This is a man-made crisis. Children and families are suffering. Refugees crossing the border into Colombia need health, a measure of hope and then a pathway to a better life. While we expect the international community to keep up the pressure on Venezuela, Americares will, meantime, continue to do our part to bring health services to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.