Recent figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees show that there are nearly 5.4 million Venezuelan migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers in the world. Colombia, being a neighboring country, and sharing more than 2,000km of land border, has received the highest number of people fleeing the political, social, and economic crisis. These include Venezuelan nationals and Colombian returnees, who had themselves once fled to the neighboring country in search of better futures but since returned to their homeland.

Migration Colombia figures from September 2020 estimate that there are 1,715,831 Venezuelans in Colombia, with the next highest in Peru (1,043,460), followed by Chile (457,324) and then Ecuador (417,199).

ACDI/VOCA’s Emergency Response in Arauca (ERA) program arose as a response to this humanitarian crisis, seeking to provide solutions for migrants, returnees, and vulnerable members of the host community living in settlements in the border town of Arauca.

The program focused on strengthening food security; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and psychosocial care using ACDI/VOCA’s social change program DecidoSer.

The program also implemented household gardens, distributing seeds, chickens and tools for growing food and poultry management, also carrying out workshops and follow-up visits to assist participants in becoming self-sustaining with regards to food.

While the Emergency Response in Arauca program came to a close in October 2020, in November, ACDI/VOCA started a new initiative also attending to migrants and marginalized communities in the border region of La Guajira – Emergency Response in Colombia (ERIC).