In 2021, it is estimated that 14.7 million people, including 5.5 million children, will need humanitarian assistance linked to: migratory flows to and from Venezuela; needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic; violence; and internal displacement. UNICEF aims to reach 2.49 million people, including 1.82 million children from the most vulnerable groups of Venezuelan migrants and other vulnerable populations affected by violence and COVID-19 in Bolivia, Brazil , Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.
As of March 2021, around 3.4 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees had been registered in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago. Despite movement restrictions linked to COVID-19 containment measures, Venezuelan children and families continue to cross borders in South America and the Caribbean. Many of them took irregular routes, exposed to worrying protection risks and lacked access to basic services.
During the reporting period, with support from UNICEF, nearly one million children gained access to formal and informal education opportunities, over 23,000 children and women received primary health care , advice on feeding children was provided to more than 2,200 parents and guardians, 61,000 people were provided with critical water. , sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies and services, 94,000 children and caregivers received psychosocial support, more than 3,300 families received humanitarian cash transfers and nearly 896,000 people received key information on access to services.
In March 2021, UNICEF’s appeal was 91% underfunded. Urgent support is needed to maintain and intensify response actions on the ground. Without adequate funding, UNICEF will not be able to meet its goals of reaching the most vulnerable migrants and refugee families, as well as other extremely vulnerable children and families facing the effects of dwindling resources. livelihood and limited access to services due to COVID-19.
Situation in figures
5.48 million children in need of assistance (UNICEF HAC 2021, based on RMRP 2021 and country estimates)
14.73 million people in need (UNICEF HAC 2021, based on RMRP 2021 and country estimates)
4.6 million Venezuelan migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean (RMRP 2021)
5.4 million Venezuelan migrants in the world (RMRP 2021)
Overview of regional funding and partnerships
In December 2020, UNICEF launched its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) 2021, which appeals for $ 100.3 million. i The objective of this HAC is threefold: (a) respond to the humanitarian needs – including the needs related to COVID-19 – of Venezuelan migrants, refugees and host communities (66% of the total appeal) – in line with the 2021 Regional Refugee Plan and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP); ii (b) respond to other vulnerable children and their families affected by COVID-19 in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (24%); iii and (c) meet the needs of internally displaced children affected by violence and their families in Colombia and Ecuador (10 percent). As of March 2021, UNICEF had US $ 9.5 million, of which US $ 7.5 million carried over from 2020 and US $ 2.2 million received in 2021. Critical funding received to launch the response in 2021 includes a flexible contribution from Sida – Sweden to meet the needs of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and host communities in all countries included in the appeal. In addition, allocations from the UNICEF Global Humanitarian Thematic Funds have been made to boost the migration-related response and COVID-19 support with a focus on gender-based violence (GBV) prevention. Private funds have been received in Peru from the Spanish Committee for UNICEF for the COVID-19 response in Peru.
The results achieved so far would not have been possible without the continued support of key partners, however with a 90% funding gap, additional flexible funds are urgently needed to: ensure the ability to adapt programming the priorities of different countries; put in place appropriate mechanisms to identify and assess the situation of children in need; and, further expand its presence and integration efforts. A prolonged period of funding gap hinders UNICEF’s ability to respond to existing and emerging needs in a timely manner. About 80% of the resources received in 2021 and 53% of the funds carried over are intended to meet the needs of Venezuelan migrants, including those related to COVID-19.
Overview of the regional situation and humanitarian needs
In 2021, UNICEF prioritized actions in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago, where some 14.7 million people, including 5.4 million children, will need humanitarian assistance due to migration to and from Venezuela, v COVID-19 pandemic, and internal violence and displacement in Colombia and northern Ecuador.
There are 5.5 million Venezuelans on the move, and around 3.4 million in the countries covered by this HAC. Since 2020, many migrants have started returning to Venezuela because they were unable to meet their basic needs in host countries, creating a risk of circular migration. There are more than 135,000 returnees, often in need of humanitarian assistance, and more are expected in the coming months. viii Children on the move, often unaccompanied, are extremely vulnerable. Despite the efforts of countries, children and adolescents on the move are at risk of family separation, insecurity, trafficking, exploitation, child recruitment and GBV. The scale and urgency of the needs have strained limited national capacities to absorb additional demand and prevent children from enjoying their basic human rights.
Vulnerable groups in the region are also facing COVID-19, as well as violence and internal displacement in Colombia and Ecuador. Among those affected, local indigenous people and people from the poorest wealth quintiles, especially women and girls, are the most vulnerable. COVID-19, in its second or third wave, reduced the government’s ability to deliver services, which were already strained by pre-existing crises. In Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, an estimated 7.5 million vulnerable peopleix are said to be in need of assistance due to the socio-economic effects of COVID-19.
Despite the difficult context, UNICEF is focusing its efforts on ensuring the continuity of services to vulnerable people, including health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, protection and psychosocial support services, as well as the implementation of cash transfer programs. UNICEF responses, which vary depending on the country context, continue to focus on those most in need.