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UN: 1.6 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday it hopes the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly will "shine a spotlight" on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, enabling donors to scale-up food assistance programs in border areas with neighboring Colombia.

According to the United Nations (UN), 1.6 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, fleeing their homes amid widespread food and medicine shortages in the oil-rich nation.

The routes taken by the fleeing migrants across the border into Colombia are often dangerous, as they are forced to cross rivers, mountains and dirt roads ruled by armed criminal networks.

Many migrants, dubbed 'caminantes' or walkers, are undertaking these difficult journeys on foot.

The WFP is aiding local government and civil society groups by supplying food assistance to those most vulnerable, including women, children and people living in shelters and on the streets in Colombian border towns like Cucuta.

But it's not allowed to operate within Venezuela directly as the organization usually operates under invitation, and Maduro's government has never contacted it.

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