Conflicts & War

Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia say their houses were set on fire

Arauquita, Colombia, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- Venezuelan families who fled to Colombia due to clashes between their military and Colombian groups reported that they escaped across the border after their homes were burned down.

Colombian Ombudsman Carlos Camargo with municipal and government authorities on Friday toured the shelters of almost 4,000 people who have arrived in Arauquita, a town in the department of Arauca, bordering Venezuela.

“They have told me the situations typical of the emergency situation. They have been displaced, they have left their relatives… they have left their place of residence, their houses have been burned,” Camargo said.

According to Migration Colombia director Juan Francisco Espinosa, 3,961 people have arrived in Arauquita in the last hours, including 2,563 Venezuelans.

In canoes, people have crossed the Arauca River, the natural border between the two countries, carrying bags with the few belongings they could collect in their hasty departure.

The National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela reported that on Sunday it clashed with Colombian armed groups in La Victoria, a small agricultural area of less than 130,000 inhabitants in the state of Apure, bordering Arauca, resulting in the deaths of two Venezuelan soldiers.

The Colombian Red Cross is attending the Arauquita emergency with a team of 20 people, including doctors, dentists, psychologists, nurses and an epidemiologist.

Similarly, the staff of Restoring Family Contacts is working to find the whereabouts of disappeared persons, re-establish contact between family members, and clarify the fate of people who have lost touch with families.

The ombudsman said that to address what he called a “public calamity,” 15 shelters have been set up to serve the displaced population. EFE-EPA


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