'Help Us, Help More': Support IOM’s Efforts to Assist Vulnerable Venezuelans

Refugee and Asylum Issues

Geneva – In line with the global theme for International Migrants Day 2018, Migration with Dignity, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) calls on the public to take action and help support vulnerable refugees and migrants from Venezuela in Latin America and the Caribbean.

IOM is reaching out to sympathetic and motivated allies of migrants to be part of the solution. The first in a series of IOM calls for action, Help us, Help more will share stories of the dignity, strength and resilience of people on the move, and will encourage individuals to support vulnerable refugees and migrants along their journeys, through online donations.

There are three million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, of which 2.4 million have left their homes and livelihoods behind in the last three years, in search of a better future. Travelling by air, road or on foot, on average 5,500 Venezuelans have left the country every day in 2018.

Emily Durán, 39, from Valencia, Venezuela, travelled over 1,700 kilometres to Cali, Colombia, where she was making a temporary stop before heading to the Colombia-Ecuador border town of Ipiales. IOM spoke to her about her six-week long journey:

“There were many difficult times on the way,” she explained. “I walked from Cúcuta to Cali… We had to sleep on the streets and had to keep walking for kilometres. It felt like we would never arrive.”

Watch the full interview with Emily Durán here.

Many of the refugees and migrants who enter Colombia opt to remain. Others, like Durán, are making plans to move onwards to Ecuador, Perú, Chile or Argentina. Brazil, México, and select Central American and Caribbean countries have also received Venezuelans.

“Some days I wish I hadn’t left my country, just to face even more troubles,” said Durán. IOM missions in the field provide lifesaving assistance to Venezuelan refugees and migrants through the distribution of food, medicine and emergency kits. In some countries IOM helps Venezuelans find temporary housing, while in others IOM operates transit shelters. Family reunification and cultural integration of Venezuelans, also part of IOM’s mission, help ease the transition into their new lives.

Host communities and governments have been generous with their support. But we need to do more: Help us, Help more

For more information please contact Deepika Nath at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9897, Email: dnath@iom.int

  • IOM encourages individuals to support vulnerable migrants along their journeys through online donations. Photo: IOM