A staggering 1.2 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia.
And the country has until recently sought to avoid setting up camps to house these migrants in fear they may attract more, and slow down integration into Colombian society.
But a surge in the historically poor town of Maicao forced the local government to reach out to the UN, who set up this 60-tent camp —a temporary respite for beleaguered Venezuelan migrants fleeing their home where hyperinflation has put basic food and medicine beyond reach.
(SOUNDBITE) VENEZUELAN MIGRANT, MARIA MORENO, SAYING:“My children went three days without eating anything.
“ Maria Moreno and her six children fled a month ago, and are allowed to stay for six weeks at this camp.
(SOUNDBITE) VENEZUELAN MIGRANT, MARIA MORENO, SAYING: "I've come (here) because I told my husband that I couldn't take the situation anymore.
It's hard, you can't tolerate it.
You know it's hard when your son says, 'mom, I'm hungry', and there is not even salt water to give him." The camp, the only one of its kind in Colombia, opened in March.
The United Nations estimates that roughly a quarter of the country's 30 million people need humanitarian assistance.
It’s not home, but DENIRE SIERRA, who’s 38 weeks pregnant, says it’s still better than the alternative.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN MIGRANT, DENIRE SIERRA, SAYING: “I feel better (at the camp) than being out on the street.
I'm safer, I have food, I don't have to be under the sun.” Colombian and U.N.
Officials take pains to emphasize the Maicao camp is temporary - an attempt to give the most vulnerable migrants housing while they prepare to continue their journey to other parts of Colombia or get jobs.
But officials say it will remain open as long as it is needed and can be funded.