Venezuela is currently facing one of the world’s worst refugee crisis. Nearly 90% of families are living in poverty due to hyperinflation and lack of basic staples. More than four million have fled the country so far, and in 2020 the number of refugees is expected to surpass the six million refugees caused by the Syrian civil war. Despite the scale of this disaster, Bloomberg reports that the Venezuelan refugee crisis has received just 1.5% of the aid the Syrian crisis received.
As the refugee crisis intensified, WCK launched #ChefsForVenezuela and sent our Chef Relief Team to serve fresh meals in Cúcuta, Colombia to Venezuelan refugees who have fled their homes. Our presence remains there today and we have served more than 750,000 meals. And we're still cooking.
WCK also began cooking and serving meals in Venezuela in July 2019. Due to the many challenges, our Chef Relief Team is focused on feeding children first, followed by pregnant and nursing mothers. We serve sandwiches, hot meals, and fruit to hospitals, churches, schools, and dining rooms in the barrio of Petare, Venezuela.
Your support makes our work in Colombia and Venezuela possible. While this crisis shows no sign of abating, WCK is committed to supporting the Venezuelan refugees for as long as we are needed.
World Central Kitchen (WCK) arrived in Cucuta, Colombia in mid-February amid a growing hunger crisis among Venezuelans on the border. Shortly after arriving, trucks attempting to bring aid and supplies to Venezuela were burned amidst a conflict on the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge between the two countries. As a result, both Colombia and Venezuela closed their borders, leaving thousands of Venezuelans in need of support. As a humanitarian organization, World Central Kitchen is not engaged in the politics of this crisis, but rather onsite solely to support those in need.
Initially, WCK distributed bagged lunches and sandwiches to those stranded in Cucuta. The Chef Relief Team quickly worked with local partners to identify a kitchen to begin preparing hot meals. At the same time, the team learned of the need to feed refugees inside the country, on the road as they took the journey to a better life. Since then, with a core team of Venezuelan refugees themselves, WCK has been supporting shelters along the road from Cucuta, through Pamplona, on to Bucaramanga. The team has served more than 678,000 meals to date.
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