Cartagena, Mixed Migrants, and Hurricane Iota

Credit: Alexandra Insignares

But there is an underlying issue — a deep and much-overlooked emergency — that has been ongoing for years.

There are 55,000 mixed migrants — including Venezuelan refugees and Colombian returnees — living in the city. Most are among the more than 300,000 people, one-third of Cartagena, who live in the city’s slums. These communities exist in a permanent state of emergency. Even before the hurricane and the COVID-19 pandemic, harsh conditions, limited livelihood opportunities, and immense barriers to social integration made life extremely difficult for this substantial part of Cartagena.

Credit: Alexandra Insignares

Over the last years, more than 1.8 million Venezuelan refugees and Colombian returnees have crossed the border, seeking safety and a life of dignity.

IsraAID first arrived in Cúcuta, a border city, to offer humanitarian assistance in early 2019. In the time since, we’ve established two Child Friendly Spaces in Barranquilla, where there are few humanitarian actors, to provide integrated education and psychosocial support services to mixed migrant children and their families. We’re also working in Cartagena, administering Psychological First Aid to those currently living in shelters, providing educational resources in partnership with local libraries for out-of-school children, and working to ensure schools have adequate hygiene facilities and resilience-building tools to support children as they return to school.

Credit: Alexandra Insignares

As a humanitarian aid organization, our job is both responding to the immediate disaster and addressing the underlying issues, working together with affected populations.

We need your help to bring urgent relief to communities in Colombia — please donate to IsraAID’s emergency fund to support our ongoing response efforts.

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IsraAID

IsraAID

Stories from IsraAID's work providing life-saving emergency relief and durable solutions for populations affected by crisis. http://www.israaid.org