The exodus of Venezuelans is on track to reach five million people, as pressure grows on neighbouring countries to provide them with long-term support, United Nations and European Union officials said.
Some 4.5 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela since 2015, according to official figures, but more are using illegal crossing points because they lack identity papers, said Eduardo Stein, joint special representative of the UN refugee and migration agencies.
The crisis has worsened since the United States imposed sanctions, including on the pivotal oil industry, to oust leftist President Nicolas Maduro in favour of opposition leader Juan Guaido. Dozens of nations recognize Guaido as interim president, saying Maduro rigged a 2018 election.
Roughly 5,000 people leave Venezuela daily, although the number fluctuates as more states require visas, Stein said.
"The experience of other crises in the world shows us that those who would want to go back to Venezuela if the crisis in political terms were to be solved today, it will take a good two years or maybe even more," Stein said.
A UN regional humanitarian response plan of $739 million for this year is expected to nearly double for 2020, he added.
The initially welcoming attitude to Venezuelans around South America has soured amid accusations they bring crime, crowd the job market, and strain social services.
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