1.5 million Venezuelan refugees face severe hardship: Exacerbated by covid-19
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The economic situation under President Nicolás Maduro is a disaster for ordinary citizens. In recent years, millions of Venezuelans have fled the country because of extreme poverty, a crumbling health care system, unemployment, and an array of negative factors.
Life was already hard for vast numbers of Venezuelans throughout South America. However, the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is further exacerbating the situation. Hence, with regional nations facing economic and health pressures from the coronavirus, the UNHCR is warning that several nations face severe difficulties.
According to the UNHCR, six nations housing Venezuelans are at crisis point already. Two of these nations have serious coronavirus problems relating to Chile and Peru. Meanwhile, an upturn in deaths and cases is also happening in Argentina and Bolivia. Also, the economic impact and other issues in Paraguay and Uruguay mean all six nations have insufficient funds to support Venezuelans.
Of course, Venezuelans are also in other regional nations, and tensions have emerged with local populations. Hence, with the scarcity of resources and the convulsions of the coronavirus, this is another angle to fear.
This highlights the shocking reality of Venezuela under Maduro. After all, this nation isn’t at war – instead, it is the horrendous mismanagement of the economy.
Voice of America reports, “The U.N. refugee agency warns some 1.5 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants face extreme risks and hardships during the winter season in the southern region of South America. The UNHCR reports six countries of asylum — Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay — are overstretched and unable to help the Venezuelans.”
In the southern regions of South America, the winter can be extremely cold. Of course, the temperature varies throughout the region and internally depending on location. Yet, it is another problem that is further exacerbating the plight of Venezuelans.
The joint UNHCR IOM Special Representative for migrants and refugees, Eduardo Stein, uttered, “At a time when the world’s attention is focused on COVID-19, and as governments and populations, particularly health workers, heroically come together to combat this virus, we should not lose sight of the needs of the millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.”
The situation is extremely bleak because many have lost jobs based on the coronavirus crisis. Indeed, vast numbers were already struggling before this angle. Hence regional lockdowns, evictions, lack of bare necessities, insecurity of food, and other ills highlight the severity of the crisis.
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