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Venezuelan Migrants Find Welcome, Hope in Colombia

Desperate families are fleeing into Colombia as neighboring Venezuela faces dire food shortages, power blackouts, and a collapsing national healthcare system. Not only are people dying from lack of nutrition and medical care, the rates of murder and suicide have also spiked.

We’ve seen a great response. I have seen God’s spirit move through the care we’re giving.”—Chaplain Arley Tirado

“There’s no hope in Venezuela,” said Mileydis, a young Venezuelan mother who moved with her husband to Colombia in search of a better life for their two daughters. Samaritan's Purse provided medicine for their children as the family stayed along the northeastern border between the two countries.

Tens of thousands of migrants have benefitted from relief—food, safe shelter, counseling, or medical care—provided by Samaritan’s Purse at multiple locations within Colombia since 2018. Over the past few years, well more than a million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia, their western neighbor, and another 3 million or so have left for other countries in the Americas and beyond.

UPDATE: Now, since Colombia received its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in March 2020, Samaritan’s Purse has adjusted programs to respond directly to the coronavirus and new needs that have arisen. Our existing health program has continued to provide outpatient consultation for Venezuelans who are not enrolled in the local health system. We have also expanded to provide COVID screening, contact tracing, and training on health and hygiene precautions. In addition, our food assistance team is distributing staples to vulnerable Colombian and displaced Venezuelan families who cannot afford these necessary supplies during mandatory isolation.

Due to current restrictions in light of this pandemic, we have adapted our migrant shelter program for the moment. At our La Donjuana station, outside Cucuta, we can no longer house people overnight, but we are providing day services for migrants including hand washing stations and route information. Our Berlin shelter has been closed indefinitely. Samaritan's Purse remains prepared to adapt as needs continue to change in this crisis.

Through all of our ministry, we’re able to share the love of God and the hope of salvation found only in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “We’ve seen a great response,” said Chaplain Arley Tirado. “I have seen God’s spirit move through the care we’re giving.”

Please prayerfully consider supporting this critical work and pray for millions of struggling Venezuelans—both inside and outside the country.

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