Despite the economic growth of the last 20 years, Colombia suffers from major inequalities between regions and a lack of basic services (health, food, security) in many areas outside the major cities and municipalities. As the country’s development is geographically uneven, many regions remain neglected and vulnerable populations do not have the necessary means to meet their needs. Some border areas have also suffered for decades from chronic insecurity linked to the presence of various armed or criminal groups and the historical discrimination suffered by certain populations living there. Colombia has also been hard hit by Venezuela’s socio-economic and political crisis, with the country welcoming 2.4 million Venezuelan migrants in 2022. These massive migratory movements continued to have major socio-demographic, security, political, economic and cultural repercussions. At the time, an estimated 7.7 million people were in need of humanitarian aid in Colombia. The “caminantes” – Venezuelan migrants travelling hundreds of kilometres along migratory routes – were particularly destitute. By 2023, nearly 500,000 people are expected to have passed through the Darien Strait on a migration route through Central America to the United States. In these regions affected by inequality, poverty, discrimination, violence and migratory movements, the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate, with a resurgence of violence by armed groups for control of the territory. Combined with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and various natural and climatic disasters, these events have led to population displacements and protection problems.
Since its arrival in Colombia in 2019, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has identified a critical need for humanitarian intervention, particularly food assistance in the border area between Colombia and Venezuela. Between 2019 and 2023, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has established itself as a key player in the emergency response along the migratory routes in the Santander and Norte de Santander regions.
For three consecutive years, our teams ensured immediate access to crucial assistance for ‘Caminantes’ in transit, responding to people’s needs to improve their journey to their final destination. This intervention included the distribution of over 750,000 hot meals, as part of a more holistic response that also encompassed access to drinking water, hygiene and sanitation, including the prevention of COVID-19. In addition, measures to improve protection, such as temporary shelters and humanitarian transport to safe locations, were put in place.
This contribution has been widely recognised by both the humanitarian community and the authorities, leading to a significant increase in the number of aid beneficiaries, with over 460,000 people supported. By constantly adapting its practices, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been able to meet many challenges by ensuring optimum coordination with the authorities, NGOs and local partners. Responses adapted to the vulnerabilities of women, children and people with reduced mobility on migratory routes have been proposed.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has also developed longer-term initiatives aimed at strengthening the resilience and adaptation capacities of vulnerable host populations and long-term Venezuelans through social and economic integration actions, as well as obtaining official documents to enable more sustainable integration in host areas.
Should you have any questions, please contact Xavier Lauth
At head office