BOGOTA, Colombia – Colombia’s government has opened its first shelter for Venezuelans who are pouring across the border in ever-larger numbers to escape their nation’s economic crisis.
The bare-bones shelter opened Saturday near the border city of Cucuta will provide shelter of up to 48 hours for 120 people a day. Pregnant mothers, the elderly and minors who entered the country legally will be given priority. It will be administered by the Red Cross.
Cucuta has been overwhelmed in recent weeks by an increasingly large exodus of Venezuelans. Many are sleeping on the streets and crime in the city has spiked as gangs recruit and take advantage of the desperate migrants.
Some 35,000 Venezuelans cross into Colombia each day, many of them settling in with relatives or making short trips to buy food and medicine that has been scarce for years back home.