The outflow of Venezuelans into neighbouring countries, such as Colombia, constitutes a “humanitarian disaster”, said the head of the World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday.
Speaking in Colombia, David Beasley said it was catastrophic that around 50,000 were now choosing to cross the border each day, just at one location — “and that’s the legal border crossing”, added the WFP director.
His plea for international donors to step up funding to help neighbouring countries cope with the refugee exodus came at the same time as the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) issued new protection guidance for Governments to address the crisis.
UNHCR said the guidelines were to encourage States to be pragmatic about helping Venezuelans stay temporarily, with access to health care, education, shelter and the right to work.
Following political upheaval inside Venezuela, there has been a 2,000 per cent increase in the number of nationals seeking asylum worldwide, since 2014.
Mr. Beasley spoke to Wolfgang Friedl, in the Colombian capital, Bogotá.