The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, today noted the "complexity" of the migration crisis in Colombia due to the high number of Venezuelans who arrive daily and pledged to expedite the help to face that situation.
The official, who arrived yesterday in Colombia for a visit that will last until tomorrow, moved to the city of Cucuta where he toured the Simón Bolívar international bridge, which connects the two countries, to personally know what is happening.
Under an intense sun, Grandi observed the thousands of Venezuelans who crossed the border crossing this morning and spoke with several of them.
The immigrants told the UNHCR representative of their daily anxieties in order to buy essential products in Colombia.
Amid the usual congestion on the bridge some, who ignored the purpose of the visit of the high commissioner, shouted "down Maduro", alluding to the president of the neighboring country, Nicolás Maduro.
"This morning I have seen concretely the huge volume of this population movement and also the complexity of the situation," Grandi told reporters at the end of his walk.
Subsequently, the head of Acnur participated in the inauguration of the La Margarita Medical Center, in Villa del Rosario, a municipality that is part of the metropolitan area of Cúcuta, capital of the department of Norte de Santander.
There he reiterated the importance of making presence on the border to "understand the concrete problems of Venezuelans" and be able to "better plan future action in support of the Colombian Government."
The medical center will receive about 320 patients daily and approximately 9,300 a month.
These people, said Grandi, will be "both Venezuelans who cross the border and Colombians who return to their country."
The beneficiaries of the work, which is part of the international cooperation managed by the Colombian Chancellery with UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council, will receive medical, psychosocial, sexual and reproductive health care.
Later, Grandi visited the Las Delicias Community Center, where she met with leaders who support the integration of Venezuelan families in Colombia.
As part of the tour, he also visited the Divina Providencia dining room, where the diocese of Cúcuta provides daily meals to 3,500 immigrants.
The Foreign Ministry's Border Manager, Felipe Muñoz, said that the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees helps "internationalize what is happening in Colombia with Venezuelan migration."
In fact, Muñoz highlighted the work of the Colombian Foreign Minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, to raise the regional crisis with the Organization of American States (OAS), and international United Nations, so that the world knows what is happening in Venezuela.
When referring to the Medical Center La Margarita, the official said that it will "strengthen the capacity and the aid required by international cooperation."
The crisis generated in several Latin American countries by Venezuelan migration is "an immense challenge" and one of the "largest in migration in the world at this time," said Muñoz.
According to UN calculations, about 2.3 million Venezuelans have left their country in the face of the crisis that exists there.
Of them, almost one million have settled in Colombia, and about 35,000 cross the border daily, many in search of food and medicine and others to leave their country permanently.
On October 2, Foreign Minister Trujillo said that up to four million Venezuelan immigrants can reach Colombia in the most pessimistic scenario of a worsening crisis in that country.
In budgetary terms, it would be necessary to 2021 resources for 12.4 billion pesos (about 4,100 million dollars) in the areas of education, health, early childhood care, family care, housing, water and sanitation and institutional strengthening.
In the best scenario, that is, if the situation were to improve in Venezuela, the resource requirement for 2021 would be 10.2 billion pesos (about 3,396 million dollars), but if the worst is reached, 26 would be required, 5 trillion pesos (about 8,800 million dollars.
Grandi will continue tomorrow his visit to Colombia in Bogota, where he will meet with President Ivan Duque to discuss issues related to immigrants.
Then, he will continue his tour of Latin America, which will run until October 14 and will also take him to Argentina, Peru and Ecuador.