Wayuu Communities in Crisis

Samia Lizete Barros, 2, shows a water bottle she filled up from the stream bed near her house, in Perramana, Maicao, La Guajira, Colombia. March 2017.
Image: WaterAid/ Jordi Ruiz Cirera

August 21, 2019

The New York Times recently published an article on the hardships Wayuu communities in Northern Colombia and Venezuela have survived and continue to face. Our work in Colombia is focused in two areas, La Guajira, where Wayuu communities have lived for centuries and in Putumayo where we work with communities affected by the armed conflict. 

New York Times article screenshot

I know that life for the Wayuu people has never been easy. Life without running water never is. 

But now, due to the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, an influx of Venezuelan Wayuu refugees in Colombia is straining an already perilous living situation. Children are dying from malnutrition and illness. Community elders are trying to settle ancient disputes. Wells have dried up. There is very little food. 

The situation is bleak and unlikely to improve until the situation in Venezuela becomes more secure, which could take years. Years we don't have.

We cannot wait.

The glacial pace of change in politics will cost too many lives and cause too much suffering. WaterAid is already on the ground, working with the Wayuu people in La Guajira, Colombia, to build clean water and sanitation systems for the community. We’ve made progress, but the influx of people puts further strain on resources.

In this moment of crisis, we need to do more. Lives are at stake.

We need your help. Please consider a small gift of $25 to support our critical work with the Wayuu community.