Support for Venezuelans in Dominican Republic amidst COVID-19 Intensifies


Santo Domingo – In the Dominican Republic, efforts to assist refugees and migrants from Venezuela, especially mothers, are being intensified through the distribution of 1,900 bags of emergency food supplies and housing support—all amid the advance of COVID-19 on the island.  

Moreover, the implementation of mitigation measures and mobility restrictions have brought about a considerable reduction in income for refugees and migrants. With this, many have been at risk of losing their homes. 

Some 104,000 refugees and migrants from Venezuela are here, according to data released by migration authorities. For the most vulnerable there are emergency packages of rice, pasta, beans, oatmeal and a protein-fortified cereal donated by the World Food Programme (WFP). 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with 20 civil organizations were part of the initiation of deliveries intended to reach other communities in late July in the capital, as well as the districts of Santiago, San Cristóbal and Bávaro in Higuey. 

With the support of the Duendes and Ángeles Vinotinto Foundation, 200 vulnerable cases have been identified, with primary attention being given to mothers and their children. Later this month IOM will send bank money transfers to another 260 Venezuelan mothers to help them pay their rent. 

"At this time, it is important to be able to help without distinction and to be in solidarity; this help makes Venezuelans feel at home, in such a complicated context," said Alejandra Saconne, member of the Duendes and Ángeles Vinotinto Foundation. 

Rina Hernández, an office administrator and accountant, has worked as a secretary in Santo Domingo, where she has lived for just over three years. Nonetheless, following the declaration of an emergency due to COVID-19, her premises were closed.  

Rina is from Maracaibo, Venezuela and has two daughters, seven months and nine years old. She and her husband and children live near the Avenida Independencia in Santo Domingo.  Even with the husband working double shifts at a hardware store,  they seldom have enough money to pay their rent. 

"Thanks to this support we were able to stay in place; they were about to evict us, and it was a big concern. For us, the context of the pandemic has complicated our work situation; it is not easy at all," Rina told IOM staff this week.  

As the pandemic continues, IOM will work together with the government and other institutions, to reach the most vulnerable among the refugees and migrants from Venezuela. 

These actions are part of the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela with the financial support of the Government of Canada.  

For more information, please contact Zinnia Martínez at IOM Dominican Republic, Email: 

  • Venezuelan mothers in the Dominican Republic waiting for their food kits and protective gear. Photo: Duendes and Angeles Vinotinto Foundation 

  • Venezuelan mothers helping with the distribution of food kits. Photo: Duendes and Angeles Vinotinto Foundation 

  • Alejandra Saccone and volunteers from Duendes and Angeles Vinontinto Foundation. Photo: Duendes and Angeles Vinotinto Foundation