Venezuelans fleeing crisis could reach 8m by end of 2020

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Report warns that exodus could become the biggest in recent history without action

Gideon Long in Medellín, Colombia

The number of people fleeing Venezuela’s devastating economic crisis could hit 8m by the end of next year, surpassing the number who have left Syria and making it the biggest recent exodus anywhere on the planet, the Organisation of American States has warned in a report.

The group said 4m Venezuelans have already left their country since 2015, and the figure is set to rise to 5.3m-5.7m by the end of 2019. If nothing is done to tackle the crisis, it will hit 7.5m-8.2m by the end of 2020, the OAS report said.

That compares to around 6.3m who have fled Syria during its eight-year conflict, 2.6m who have left Afghanistan and 2.4m escaping South Sudan, said Dany Bahar of the Brookings Institution in Washington, one of the authors of the report.