5000 people flee Venezuela every day: "It will be worse than Syria"

The UNHCR special representative for Venezuelan refugees estimates that there will be 6.4 million migrants from this country by the end of 2020

Until a stable political solution is found, Venezuelans living in dire economic conditions "will continue fleeing the country at an average of 4000 to 5000 per day," said Eduardo Stein, Special Representative for Venezuela of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migrations (IOM), during an interview with Spanish newspaper El País,.

According to Stein, "Latin America will never be the same again." And he adds a frightening prediction: "By 2020, Venezuela will outnumber Syria in terms of migrants fleeing the country." According to Stein's estimates, there will be 6.4 million Venezuelan migrants by the end of 2020.

To date, more than 4.5 million Venezuelans have fled the devastating crisis that has been affecting the country. 1.5 million migrants took refuge in neighboring Colombia, followed by 860.000 in Peru, 371.000 in Chile, and 330.000 in Ecuador. "No country can handle this exodus alone," Stein told El País during his recent visit to the Colombian capital, Bogota, where he launched a regional plan to address the humanitarian needs of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.

"We have to prepare at a regional level for a forced migration movement that puts pressure on public structures in terms of health services, education, and, most importantly, labor supply. It directly affects local communities in each of the host countries," Eduardo Stein pointed out.

While in 2015 most migrants were qualified laborers who could easily enter the job market in neighboring countries, the flow of migrants in recent years is increasingly made up of people living in extreme poverty. Four years ago, Argentina alone hosted about 1000 engineers working for Venezuela's state oil company.

The humanitarian response plan for 2020 amounts to $1350 million. "We have managed to involve EU member states, which are now important donors, in a deeper and wider manner."

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