Samaritan's Purse is providing physical and spiritual relief to Venezuelan families fleeing economic disarray.
Thousands of Venezuelan migrants are flooding into Colombia from Venezuela, a nation crippled by hyperinflation. Food shortages and soaring prices have forced many families to skip meals and forage for food from unsanitary sources. Last year, Venezuelans lost an average of 24 pounds in body weight as a result of the food crisis, and 87% live in poverty. Three million have left their home country since 2014
Samaritan’s Purse is ready to deliver food and relief supplies to those in need, but currently, access to the country is being denied. We did however begin working with the Venezuelans from the Colombian side of the border over a year ago, where we have established five relief sites, including our main location ‘The Center of Hope’ at major border crossings where Venezuelan migrants can find; rest, shelter, food, hygiene kits, clothing, other essentials, and hear the Gospel from our staff.
We have committed to continue to help the ever-growing tide of people seeking safety outside of the country and as Reuters quoted Franklin Graham saying, “We are preparing to fly in as soon as we get the green light.”
Maryelis came to the Samaritan’s Purse mobile medical clinic in Puerto Santander, Colombia, suffering from some minor childhood ailments. The doctor saw her and provided her mother Jennifer with the appropriate remedies, including a fever reducer.
It was a simple interaction, but for Jennifer and Maryelis [featured in the video above], there is nothing simple about their lives anymore. They make a dangerous crossing over into Colombia a couple times a week to sell fish and buy basic items because their home country of Venezuela is in economic freefall. Hyperinflation has robbed the currency of its value, and food and medicine are in short supply. Simple pain relievers—when available—can cost up to a month’s salary. In some cases, hospitals are no longer able to provide even basic care.
“I really hope that everything changes in Venezuela,” Maryelis said. “I go to the church every Sunday, and I pray for God to change everything.”
“I pray for God to change everything.”
Jennifer described long lines and angry people waiting for what little food is available in Venezuela. It’s difficult for the single mom to provide.
“You have to fight. You don’t live there, you [just] survive there,” she said.
Maryelis and Jennifer are among the thousands of Venezuelans we’ve helped at our two mobile medical locations in Colombia. The work continues as the flow of migrants increases. Most have no other treatment options available to them, so they are greatly appreciative of the compassionate and quality care we provide at no cost.
“It means the world to these mothers who have a sick child and feel hopeless,” said Melanie Wubs, Samaritan’s Purse Medical Coordinator.
“When many may feel the world has given up on them, we have a chance to talk with them, show concern for them, and share Jesus with them,” Wubs added. “We’ve had people travel from four hours away by bus, because they heard a rumor that there might be a clinic. That’s how great the need for medical care is.”
Please pray for our continued ministry in Colombia among Venezuelans who have fled their country and who are regularly crossing back-and-forth between the two nations.