In 2016, the Government of Colombia signed a peace agreement with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC. However, several other armed groups remain active across the country and civilians continue to suffer the humanitarian consequences of the ongoing conflicts and other forms of violence.
Colombia also hosts more than 1.8 million Venezuelans migrants and refugees. The country is among the most disaster-prone areas of the world with millions of its citizens exposed to natural hazards and climate-related events.
What are the needs?
The UN Humanitarian Needs Overview projects up to 6.7 million people in need of assistance in Colombia in 2021. More than 480,000 people have been displaced after the signature of the peace agreement.
Conflict affects Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities. Civilians became systematic targets of violent attacks, particularly in the Pacific Coast and border regions. A record number of attacks were reported in 2020, with an alarming increase in killings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most vulnerable people require protection, food assistance, health care, education, and safe water. Refugees and internally displaced people need housing and basic household items, as well as psychological support and legal assistance.
Around 5.4 million Venezuelans fled their country since 2015, of which more than 1.7 million live in Colombia, the highest number in the world. It is estimated that over 56% of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia are in an irregular situation.
Colombia reported almost 5 million COVID-19 cases and over 126,000 deaths by October 2021. Due to the pandemic, over 10 million people are food insecure. Unemployment rates increased by 55%, exacerbating poverty.
Volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods and droughts affect millions throughout the country.
How are we helping?
In 2021, the EU allocated over €33 million in humanitarian aid to Colombia.
The EU pays special attention to victims of forgotten crises - severe and protracted humanitarian crises where affected people do not receive sufficient international aid, such as Colombia. Colombia is the largest recipient of EU humanitarian aid in Latin America with over €329 million since 1994.
Colombians affected by the conflict, whether in their communities or being displaced for fleeing violence (including those seeking refuge in neighbouring countries), are also our priority. EU humanitarian funding provides protection, health care, water and sanitation to vulnerable groups such as women, children and indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations.
Since 2017, the EU has funded more than 30 humanitarian projects to support over 1.7 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees living in Colombia. The aim is to guarantee that they have adequate access to health care, education and protection.
The EU also focuses on strengthening food assistance, particularly for those whose financial resources are constrained by armed groups. We also work to ensure that internally displaced children and refugee minors in Ecuador and Venezuela can go to school.
The EU is providing humanitarian assistance to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Colombia, both through adaptation of ongoing projects and new funding in the health, water, sanitation and hygiene sectors.
EU humanitarian aid also focuses on indigenous communities living in the country’s remotest areas hit by COVID-19. In August 2021 the EU allocated €16 million to provide healthcare services, water sanitation systems, hygiene and livelihood kits. This aims to minimise their risks of contracting COVID-19, of which more than €5 million are being implemented in Colombia.
The EU strives to reduce the risks associated with natural hazards and increase the resilience and preparedness of people who are most vulnerable to floods, droughts, landslides and earthquakes. Disaster preparedness and capacity building are integrated into all projects to limit the impact of natural hazards and to strengthen the response capacity of communities and institutions.
Last updated 14/10/2021