What the Lockdown Means for Venezuelan Refugees
Thousands of refugees who fled the political and economic crisis in Venezuela are facing weeks with very little food after a national lockdown in Colombia.
“I don't know what I'm going to do without being able to feed my daughter,” says 24-year-old Ana*, who has a four-year-old daughter. “If the government does not let us go out on the streets, I do not know what we are going to do to eat.”
Across the city of Barranquilla, there are more than 15,000 Venezuelan families like Ana’s. Most of them depend on being able to work in order to put food on the table, but now they can no longer leave their houses.
“For most of us the quarantine has meant going home; a return to God, our families and to stillness. Unfortunately, there are people like Ana who cannot go home. Our call in this crisis is to be light in the lives of those who do not have a home to shelter in or food to eat. The time to act is now.”
- Andrea Villareal
Tearfund’s Latin America and Caribbean Team
To try and stop the spread of coronavirus, the Colombian government has ordered that everyone should stay home for the next three weeks. However, relief agencies, like Tearfund, and local churches have been given special permission to carry on supporting people.
The need remains great
Before the lockdown, our local partners distributed food parcels to 600 Venezuelan refugee families in Barranquilla. But there are many more people still in need of food.
“Children and families have been suffering from lack of food for a long time now and are at high risk because of how impossible it is to get food,” says Rosa Camargo de Bravo, who leads Tearfund’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We expect to increase our support for families with elderly people and those without any means to earn an income during the quarantine.”
- Pray for Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, that they will be able to access food during the pandemic and be able to feed their families.
- Ask God to protect people who are likely to be particularly vulnerable to the virus, especially the elderly. But also women and children who are at risk of violence and abuse when confined to their homes.
- Pray for a quick end to the outbreak, so that people can start to rebuild their lives.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.