COLOMBIA / VENEZUELAN REFUGEES

22-Apr-2019 00:03:16
UNHCR opened a reception centre in March in the Colombian city of Maicao, providing temporary shelter to hundreds of vulnerable Venezuelan refugees who had been living in the streets. Darlys and her two children are among them. UNHCR
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STORY: COLOMBIA / VENEZUELAN REFUGEES
TRT: 3:16
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: SPANISH / NATS

DATELINE: 08 MARCH 2019, MAICAO, COLOMBIA
SHOTLIST
08 MARCH 2019, MAICAO, COLOMBIA

1. Wide shot, Venezuelan families entering UNHCR centre
2. Med shot, Venezuelan adults and kids registering at UNHCR centre
3. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“It was a choice between getting food for my children or paying rent to sleep for the night.”
4. Med shot, Darlys at centre
5. Various shots, Venezuelans crossing the border between Venezuela and Colombia
6. Pan left, Darlys at doctor’s appointment
7. Wide shot, Darlys at doctor’s appointment
8. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“I decided to bring my children because my son was getting swollen and he was not getting the medicine nor the medical care he needs in Venezuela.”
9. Various shots, Venezuelan family on street
10. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Federico Sersale, Head of Office in La Guajira, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The situation had become really critical in Maicao, specifically with so many people living in the streets or in a similar situation.”
11. Aerial shots, Integrated Assistance Centre
12. Wide shot, UNHCR staff speaking to Venezuelans
13. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Federico Sersale, Head of Office in La Guajira, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The objective of the centre is to provide a short-term solution to the extreme vulnerability which people are facing, which will later help them integrate in the host community.”
14. Various shots, Darlys and family walking to tent
15. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“When we arrived at the centre and my children entered the tent, they were really impressed. The fact they had a mattress, that they wouldn’t be sleeping just on a cushion but on a real mattress with a pillow - it meant that they would be able to sleep much more comfortably.”
16. Wide shot, Darlys and children in tent
17. Med shot, Darlys’s child laying down on bed
19. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“I don’t have to worry about what my children will eat, nor am I kept awake at night by fears of what could happen, or if someone might harm us on the streets.”
20. Various shots, Darlys and children eating
21. Various shots, Darlys and son drawing
22. Various shots, children at UNHCR centre
STORYLINE
UNHCR opened a reception centre in March in the Colombian city of Maicao, providing temporary shelter to hundreds of vulnerable Venezuelan refugees who had been living in the streets. Darlys and her two children are among them.

With a population of around 100,000, Maicao currently hosts 30,000 refugees and migrants. With resources stretched, Darlys and others wound up on the streets.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“It was a choice between getting food for my children or paying rent to sleep for the night.”

An assessment conducted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in February revealed that half of the 3,500 Venezuelans interviewed were living on the streets or in informal settlements in and around the city.

Thousands of families from Venezuela who reach Maicao do it with very few means to survive, if anything at all. Many of them have been living on the streets for months – in parking lots, under the city’s arcades or under self-made shelters – because the city’s shelter capacity is very limited.

Darlys said, at first, she came alone to Colombia, but her son’s kidney disease was becoming critical.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“I decided to bring my children because my son was getting swollen and he was not getting the medicine nor the medical care he needs in Venezuela.”

Refugees and migrants living on the streets of Maicao have little access to drinking water, bathrooms, shelter and other basic needs. They are also exposed to serious risks like human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), labour exploitation and sexual exploitation.

At the end of 2018, Maicao’s local authorities and the Colombian government asked UNHCR for support to set up a temporary reception centre to help address the lack of accommodation for so many people in need.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Federico Sersale, Head of Office in La Guajira, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The situation had become really critical in Maicao, specifically with so many people living in the streets or in a similar situation.”

The Integrated Assistance Centre, which opened its doors in early March, has an initial capacity to host 350 people. Women, children, elderly and other vulnerable people now have temporary access to shelter, food, water, basic medical care, and other services, such as legal orientation, psychosocial and child support.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Federico Sersale, Head of Office in La Guajira, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The objective of the centre is to provide a short-term solution to the extreme vulnerability which people are facing, which will later help them integrate in the host community.”

Government agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations, as well as UN agencies such as the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization, are involved in the centre’s operations.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“When we arrived at the centre and my children entered the tent, they were really impressed. The fact they had a mattress, that they wouldn’t be sleeping just on a cushion but on a real mattress with a pillow - it meant that they would be able to sleep much more comfortably.”

Sixty families have found a brief respite from fear and desperation, but UNHCR said the needs are vast with more than 3.4 million Venezuelans now abroad looking for safety and a way forward.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Darlys, Venezuelan refugee:
“I don’t have to worry about what my children will eat, nor am I kept awake at night by fears of what could happen, or if someone might harm us on the streets.”

The humanitarian needs have overwhelmed the Colombia’s reception capacity. UNHCR said it was working to strengthen shelter networks, provide legal counselling and facilitate access to food, water, education and health services to people in dire need.
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