The socialist crisis and repressive tactics of the regime in Venezuela have led to economic ruin, forcing many of the locals to flee their homeland. Thousands have headed into neighboring Colombia on foot, facing dehydration and extreme hunger in the process. So Operation Blessing has stepped in, offering hope and healing to many of these desperate refugees.
Over the past two weeks, the team and its partners have provided 1,261 individuals with medical attention, served 2,259 meals, distributed 370 nonfood items, and given out nearly 615 pounds of food.
CBN International producer Roberto Torres-Cedillo got a firsthand look at the severe needs and the life-giving aid being provided.
"I have just returned from one of the border cities with Venezuela (Cúcuta) in Colombia where thousands of Venezuelan refugees are crossing in search of help. Children, women, and families are suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and are in need of medical attention," Torres-Cedillo says.
Operation Blessing reports about a young mom named Izana and her son Wilson who recently fled Venezuela in search of clean water, food, and medical treatment.
The lack of clean water left Wilson dehydrated and susceptible to sickness. Their needs were met in Colombia where Operation Blessing has installed numerous water filtration systems.
Izana described her crisis and Wilson's reaction to having clean water. "There are times when we are thirsty all day because the water there is dirty. I don't give him that water because it is dirty. How can you boil water to give to the child? He was crying and crying because he wanted water. Earlier, I bathed the baby outside. He was so happy because he liked the water."
BELOW: Watch Izana and Wilson's story.
During their travels to Colombia, many Venezuelan refugees have started living in slums scattered along the border. The environment is tough as many families scrounge for essential, life-sustaining resources. Thanks to generous partners, Operation Blessing is working in slums like El Talento, blessing Venezuelans with food, basic medical care, and water filters to provide clean water.
In one location, Operation Blessing recently teamed up with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) volunteers to serve 959 meals while taking the time to minister and pray with the refugees. They also were able to distribute 1,800 Aquatabs to help refugees create safe drinking water.
Operation Blessing is assisting children, pregnant women and the elderly, all of whom are in desperate need of relief.
The situation is dire as many are battling severe illness. One woman wept as she told Operation Blessing about her mother. "One of our first nights we spent in the shelter my mom had an awful night. She asked us to just leave her there in the first shelter we found. She had a stomach issue and we had to use all the diapers we had for my youngest daughter. We've all come as a group, walking, and we haven't split up."
"Thanks to Operation Blessing for the support to all Venezuelans," she said. "It's truly a great help. We are very grateful."
In search of a better life, the Venezuelans must overcome many hardships throughout their journey to a place with better opportunities.
"The need continues, the humanitarian crisis continues. Thousands more are leaving Venezuela right now," Torres-Cedillo reports. "We've been meeting the needs firsthand. But we need more help, we need your help."
Operation Blessing relies on the generosity of partners to help provide food, clean water, medical care, and hope to these weary refugees. To learn more about how you can help crisis victims, visit OB.org/crisis.