EU humanitarian aid contributes €3.2 million to support UNICEF’s humanitarian response for children affected by the Venezuelan migration crisis

03 August 2020
On 24 April 2019 in Cucuta, Colombia, at Francisco de Paula Santander bridge, where each morning, around 5 am, hundreds of boys and girls (many in school uniforms) cross the border from Venezuela to head to the buses that will take them to school elsewhere in Cucuta.

PANAMA, 31 July 2020 - As Latin America has become the hotspot of COVID-19, the European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has contributed €3.2 million to support UNICEF to bring relief to the most vulnerable migrant and refugee children and host families in four countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), namely Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Trinidad & Tobago.

The contribution by the EU humanitarian aid department will enable UNICEF to boost critical actions adapted to COVID-19 context. More than 60,000 vulnerable people including children, including migrants, refugees and those from host communities will benefit from health and nutrition interventions, child friendly spaces to guarantee child protection; and services on formal and informal learning activities to avoid education disruption, among others.

COVID-19 has greatly exacerbated the situation and the risks already faced by the 4.5 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in LAC, the second largest displaced population in the world. The number of children in need – migrants, refugees and in host communities– is expected to almost double in 2020, from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.98 million in 2020, as the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela has already surpassed the global 5 million mark.

Migrants and refugees often live in marginalized urban and rural areas where access to clean water, sanitation and essential services are already limited. Refugee and migrant children may also be prevented from accessing essential services due to legal, linguistic or safety barriers. Further, the misinformation regarding the spread of COVID-19 fuels xenophobia and discrimination that migrant, refugee and displaced children and their families already face.

The European Commission, through its Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) announced the humanitarian funding for critical and comprehensive response in education, health and child protection to girls and boys affected by the Venezuelan migration crisis in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Trinidad & Tobago.

According to the most recent figures, Colombia has the highest number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, with more than 1.8 million, Brazil has 264.600, Ecuador 363,000 and Trinidad & Tobago 24,000[1]. 

Funding gaps, however, threaten to leave thousands of children without access to humanitarian response. The United Nations Children’s Fund aims to keep vulnerable children across the region protected, with access to safe drinking water, nutrition, health services and an education.



Media contacts

Alfonso Fernández Reca
Regional Communication Specialist
UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 69412277,
Daniele Pagani
Oficial Regional de Información para América Latina y el Caribe
Dirección General de Protección Civil y Ayuda Humanitaria (ECHO, por sus siglas en inglés)
Tel: +507 6330-9572
Tel: +91 98117 82206

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About EU humanitarian aid:

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.