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The care crisis for thousands of Venezuelan refugees in Colombia

Malteser International is providing medical care, survival kits – and now calls for more supply systems

Northern Colombia, 15 February 2019

Help for Venezuelan family in northern ColombiaOver a million Venezuelan refugees have poured into Colombia since last September, in search of sustenance, shelter and medical care, fleeing from poverty, scarcity of food and employment. ‘In northern Colombia the situation is dire,’ says Jelena Kaifenheim, Malteser International regional director for Latin America. ‘There are families living in parks, under bridges.’

 Malteser International is providing aid at a Hospital in the urban centre of Riohacha in Northern Colombia, and running mobile medical teams into remote rural villages, providing hygiene kits, agricultural equipment, food, and cash to very vulnerable families.

 What is urgently needed now from the international community, she says, is more doctors and more medicines.  

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.