Food, a Challenge for Migrant Families in Colombia

Cúcuta, Colombia, February 8, 2021 – Despite the commitment and effort that we make as a religious organization to serve the migrants who arrive daily at the Migration Center; due to the number of people, not all are covered. In this way, the need arises to establish inter-institutional work, with strategic partners such as the WFP-World Food Program.

Scalabrinians have been able to assist 1,140 boys, girls, and adolescents between 0 and 17 years of age at the Migration Center since the start of the pandemic. Mobility restrictions have exacerbated their problems in establishing themselves in Colombia; In addition to this, the children and adolescents arrive with high signs of malnutrition and exposed to all kinds of risks in their journey.

According to the most recent survey by the Interagency Group on Mixed Migratory Flows (GIFMM) of 3,100 households from Venezuela and settled in Colombian territory, “85% of these households claim to have difficulties in accessing food.”

 For departmental authorities, it is estimated that, in January 2021, some 25 thousand Venezuelan migrants arrived in Norte de Santander, this beginning of the year the flow of people crossing increased despite the border being closed, under the most critical humanitarian conditions.

“65% of these households consume two meals a day or less, and one in three of these families have had to ask for money on the street to buy food,” according to a survey conducted by 36 organizations that coordinate the response to the needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees that make up the GIFMM.

According to José Luis Muñoz, member of the Humanitarian Network, “there is a critical situation and that is that there are no shelters, these were closed in Pamplona, the children, they stay like animals in the streets, on mattresses, enduring cold, rain, they don’t have where to go to the bathroom. It is a very serious problem that we have been denouncing.”

Most of the migrants who leave their country do so on foot, fleeing the shortage of food, water, energy, and medicine. For aid points that provide humanitarian assistance on the road that leads from Cúcuta-Pamplona-Bogotá, they encounter this situation of walkers daily.