Violent deaths of Venezuelans in Colombia more than triple in 2018

Colombian migration officers check the identity documents of people trying to enter Colombia from Venezuela, at the Simon Bolivar International bridge in Villa del Rosario, Colombia, on Aug 25, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

BOGOTA (REUTERS) - Violent deaths of Venezuelans in Colombia rose more than threefold in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2017, as more desperate migrants flooded across the border to escape an economic crisis back home, a report released on Monday (Oct 22) showed.

Between January and September, there were 310 violent deaths of Venezuelans in Colombia, 244.4 per cent more than the 90 last year, the National Institute of Forensic Sciences said in a report.

Of the total, 254 were men and 56 were women and 56 per cent were murdered. Most of the violent deaths occurred in border regions such as the departments of Norte de Santander and La Guajira.

Some died in car crashes or other accidents, and others committed suicide.

Annual violent deaths in Colombia total about 25,000, according to the government.

More than a million people have left neighboring Venezuela fleeing hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages as the oil-producing nation suffers a severe and social economic crisis.

Colombia's government has said that if the situation worsens, the number of Venezuelan immigrants in its territory could rise to four million by 2021 and cost about US$9 billion (S$12 billion) in humanitarian aid.

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