by Joe Simonson
The massive exodus of Venezuelans to neighboring countries could soon eclipse the number of refugees flowing from Syria at the height of the country’s civil war.
More than three million Venezuelans have fled the country and now live in countries like Argentina or even the U.S., according to a review of figures provided by the International Migration Organization and the United Nations Agency for Refugees. More than 330,000 Venezuelans have declared asylum in countries throughout the Americas.
Colombia has absorbed the largest amount of migrants, with 1,200,000 Venezuelans currently living there.
At the beginning of January 2018, there was an increase of 20,500 percent in asylum seeking applications from Venezuelans compared to one year prior. The United Nations says that from 2012 to November 2018, asylum applications from Venezuelans increased 74,191 percent.
For comparison, U.N. figures put the total amount of Syrian asylum seekers during 2015 refugee crisis in Europe at over 450,000. By December 2017, one million Syrians applied for asylum throughout the continent.
Globally, roughly five million Syrians are displaced outside of their home country. Nearly three million Syrians currently reside in Turkey.
The Caracas Chronicles, a news organization dedicated to covering Venezuela’s economic collapse, says the “general profile” of a Venezuelan migrant is most likely a 31-year-old single male with some level of education.
Neighboring South American countries have struggled processing the surge of migrants looking for work and protection. Ecuador saw as many as 4,200 Venezuelans arriving in the country a day in August 2018.
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