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Thousands flee Venezuela as the country slips towards civil war

Tearfund | 31 Jan 2019

Venezuela flag

The crisis in Venezuela has worsened in recent weeks, leading to a mass exodus of its people.

The president of the parliament Juan Guaido was declared as interim president in January 2019. This comes six months after national elections where President Maduro was re-elected. Mr Guaido claims that the election was not according to the Venezuelan constitution. 

Since then, massive demonstrations have been taking place against Maduro’s government, where at least 40 people died and 850 were arrested including children as young as 12.

It’s feared this could lead to a civil war and the possibility of military intervention from the USA.

Going for help

With the violence, and a severe lack of food, medicine and essential services, many Venezuelans are having to move, leaving everything behind. 

Thousands are leaving their homes and families – just to find resources to help their loved ones to survive. As a consequence, they’re becoming vulnerable to mistreatment and even sexual abuse.

In Colombia, Venezuelans arrive tired and hungry – there’s nothing to eat or drink in the places they stay, and no electricity. Tearfund’s church partners are there, providing food, healthcare and psychological support. Local churches are also taking care of children, finding them places in schools or daycare and providing safe spaces for play. 

‘We thank God because the sadness we had inside is no longer that big,’ says Maria, a Venezuelan refugee staying in the ‘Los Angeles’ area of Barranquilla city. ‘We know God is with us, that his light has accompanied us. Here is a church with a big heart that is helping us even though we’re strangers to them.’

A PRAYER FOR VENEZUELA:

Father God,

We ask you to bring a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Venezuela. For the thousands who have fled to get help – would you keep them safe, healthy and hopeful. And for the friends and family they’ve had to leave behind, may they also have your protection and provision.
Let there be a quick and peaceful solution to the political conflict, without military intervention. And may Tearfund’s partners continue to be able to support Venezuelans in Colombia.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.


Tearfund

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