Venezuela Regional Crisis

Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) are responding to a complex emergency stemming from an influx of people fleeing an economic and political crisis in Venezuela to neighboring countries, including BrazilColombiaEcuador, and Peru. Approximately 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled their country, with nearly 1.2 million people fleeing to Colombia

On January 23, the U.S. Government recognized National Assembly Leader Juan Guaidó as the interim President of Venezuela. On January 24, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced that the United States was ready to provide more than $20 million to support humanitarian assistance activities in Venezuela, as soon as logistically possible.

In response to a request from interim President Guaidó to prepare for the transport of relief supplies into Venezuela on February 23, USAID pre-positioned hundreds of metric tons of humanitarian assistance along the Colombia–Venezuela border. In mid-February, USAID Administrator Mark Green traveled to Colombia to observe the arrival of U.S. Department of Defense aircraft transporting USAID relief supplies for pre-positioning. On February 23, Venezuelan security forces impeded efforts by representatives of the interim Government of Venezuela to transport the humanitarian assistance into Venezuela, resulting in clashes that resulted in at least five deaths, hundreds of injuries, and the destruction of some relief supplies.

On February 25, U.S. Vice President Michael R. Pence announced nearly $56 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the Venezuela regional crisis. The assistance includes a $40.8 million State/PRM contribution to UNHCR and IOM to support regional relief efforts, as well as $15 million in USAID funding for UN World Food Program food assistance programs supporting Venezuelans in Colombia.


Deteriorating economic and political conditions in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela since 2014 have contributed to increasing humanitarian needs and triggered an influx of Venezuelans into neighboring countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago, in recent months. Economic conditions inside Venezuela are projected to worsen in the coming months, and international media recently reported an unofficial inflation rate of approximately 27,000 percent. State/PRM estimates that more than 2 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2014, with displacement projected to continue during 2018.

The population influx is straining the capacity of services, particularly in border areas of Brazil and Colombia. Recent assessments indicate food, health care services, nutrition assistance, and WASH support are among the most urgent humanitarian needs of Venezuelans and host communities in border regions.


Katie Martin