The director of the United Nations World Food Program said on Saturday that they will solicit food donations from countries to help Colombia with migrants fleeing the crisis in Venezuela.
David Beasley said he would visit Cucuta, the border city in Colombia most affected by the arrival of Venezuelans.
“We’ll be in Cucuta to witness firsthand what’s going on. What I plan to do is see it firsthand, put together a plan with the Colombian government, and then go to major donors to see what we can do to help the innocent, hungry people,” Beasley told Spanish news agency EFE.
Regional officials for the UN program met in Panama last week. According to EFE, officials will ask for help from the United States, Canada, Sweden, the European Union and South Korea.
“It’s not fair for the people of Colombia,” Beasley said about the continued arrival of Venezuelans in search of basic needs like access to food, medicine, and healthcare.
Colombian officials earlier this year said there are over 550,000 Venezuelans living in Colombia. That number will surpass 1 million this year according to analysts.
Last month Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro blamed “media laboratories” for manufacturing a campaign to get people to leave Venezuela.
“The government of Venezuela can deny everything it wants, but there is a crisis, people are suffering, otherwise they wouldn’t be leaving the country… you can bury your head all you want, but you can’t deny the truth, it’s a catastrophe,” Beasley said.
Despite calls from Colombia and other countries, Venezuela has denied opening an official humanitarian channel to help its citizens.
“We cannot enter any country without the government’s permission,” Beasley added. “We are trying, we are talking to the government, we are asking, but so far we are not allowed to. We hope that we can be part of the solution to prevent children from going hungry.”