PAMPLONA, Colombia – Every week, thousands of people flee the political and economic crisis in Venezuela. Those who escape often lack adequate food, water, or medical care. That's why an Operation Blessing assessment team is on the ground in neighboring Colombia, working to get help to these desperate victims of the Maduro regime.
The catastrophe in Venezuela appears to be worsening by the day. More than a tenth of all Venezuelans have fled their country, and about a million are now residing in Colombia. More than half of those arrived in the last year alone.
CBN News spoke with a family who rode a bus for two days to get here and are now sleeping on the street. They say the only thing keeping millions more from leaving Venezuela is they can't even afford the $20 bus fare.
A mother named Ulenys told us she had to leave her four children behind to try and find work. "In Venezuela, we have no resources, no medicine, everyone needs help," she said.
Back in November of last year, CBN News spent a few days with the migrant caravan walking north to the United States out of Honduras. Well, there's another caravan that many people don't know about in the United States. And that's hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans leaving their country on foot and walking all the way to Bogota, Colombia where there are big camps for refugees.
"It's ready to explode," Diego Traverso said.
Diego is Operation Blessing's director for international relief. This week, he brought an advance team to Colombia to figure out where aid can have the biggest impact. After a day spent meeting these travelers strung out along hundreds of miles of mountain roads, he's gained a new understanding of the problem.
"The sense of desperation of these people is getting - you can smell it, you can feel it," he said. "It feels like something is cooking, you know?"
"People are drinking water from the rivers, contaminated, polluted...and Operation Blessing has a lot of solutions, tools, and equipment to provide clean water to people here in Colombia," he said.
The physical needs are easy to see. They need socks, better shoes, diapers for their babies and a place to rest. But those are all just symptoms of their biggest need - the love of Jesus.
"But love, what is love? It's actions. That is why we want to be here. Operation Blessing wants to be the hands of Christ, of mercy. Providing food, water, shelter and medical," Diego said.
OB is bringing water treatment, medicine, first aid, lights, baby formula and vitamins for children. And a team of doctors and nurses from El Salvador also arrived this weekend.
Operation Blessing is rushing help to where it's needed most. And for these Venezuelans, that help simply can't come soon enough.
Ulenys told us there's also a political solution that's needed here. "What Venezuelans really need is a new president!"
CLICK HERE to help Operation Blessing provide aid to Venezuelans.