Crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela is in crisis, and its people are suffering. The country’s economic collapse is considered the worst in decades to happen to a nation not currently at war. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, critical infrastructure and services — including water, electricity and transportation — were barely functioning.

Violence, insecurity and extreme poverty — aggravated by hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food, medicine, fuel and other essentials — have prompted millions of Venezuelans to leave the country. There are 6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide, the vast majority in countries within Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2016, fewer than 54,000 Venezuelans migrated to Colombia. In 2021, that number surged to well over 1.8 million. 

Pandemic restrictions further disrupted supply chains and health and social services. Low immunization coverage and disruptions in nutrition and other services are putting children’s lives at risk. Acute malnutrition rates are rising, as is violence against women and girls. Measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases have reemerged. 

UNICEF continues to partner with the government, local authorities and other partners to save and protect the most vulnerable children and families and to support Venezuela’s recovery. 

Health Officer Zaida Ferrer, center, visits a UNICEF-supported health center in Bolivar state. To help save and protect vulnerable children and mothers in Venezuela, UNICEF works to strengthen coverage of basic services such as antenatal care and child immunizations. ©UNICEF/UNI347497/Urdaneta

UNICEF is on the ground in Venezuela

In particular, UNICEF focuses on:


Nine-month-old Jireth is screened for malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported health center in Táchira state. UNICEF supports these routine screenings as part of its nutrition program in the country. During COVID, UNICEF supported a limited/no-touch screening approach to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. ©UNICEF/UNI357012/Poveda

Learn more about UNICEF’s action plan to meet the humanitarian needs of Venezuelan children in an increasingly challenging environment.

Top photo: A young member of the Cambalache Community in Bolívar state, Venezuela, checks out the UNICEF-installed water tank that will provide potable water to 1,500 people every month. Improving access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene products is a major component of UNICEF’s ongoing humanitarian work in the country, and efforts intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, UNICEF reached hundreds of thousands of people in Venezuela with basic WASH services at the community level. ©UNICEF/UNI356135/Tineo