The Coronavirus has devastated first world countries and laid to waste many developing countries. Thousands of migrants Venezuelans who went to neighboring Colombia now have no work and no place to live after Colombia like many countries shut everything down to combat the spread of Covid-19. Many are now forced to head back to their shattered Homeland.
More than 4.7 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, according to the United Nations, with many fleeing poverty, food and medicine shortages, crime, hyperinflation and political and economic crises.
About a third of these migrants and refugees settled in Colombia, with large numbers also in Peru, Ecuador and Chile.
Colombia’s government last week revealed a six-point plan for the Venezuelan migrant population that included guaranteeing access to health services and distributing food to about 800,000 migrants in 40 municipalities.
Approximately 60 percent of Venezuelans living in Colombia have no work visas or legal resident status, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the novel coronavira virus.
Migrants who are returning to Venezuela in the thousands will not have it easy when they get home. Nicolas Maduro’s government has also imposed a national lockdown, after reporting more than 150 cases of COVID-19. That number could quickly increase thanks to economic and political crises that have devastated the country for years.
Basic necessities like soap are out of reach for many Venezuelans. Some do not have water at home to wash their hands. According to a study conducted last year by the World Food Programme, four out of 10 homes in Venezuela suffered from daily water cuts. The public health system is short of doctors and nurses, as thousands have left the country due to low salaries. Food distribution has been hampered by severe shortages of gasoline.