Venezuelans flee as economic crisis deepens

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Venezuela is in the middle of an economic crisis, with hyperinflation set to hit 1,000,000%.

Hospitals are suffering, workers are on strike, supermarket shelves are bare, and now people are fleeing in the hope of a better life.

Sky’s Alex Crawford is in the country and has been able to access one of the country’s hospitals and see first-hand the problems its people are facing.

There are piles of rubbish on virtually every street corner in San Cristobal in Venezuela’s Tachira State. The dustbin men long gave up collecting after their salaries became virtually worthless.

Birds scavenge around the festering mounds as people pick their way through to try to find produce in the local supermarket.

Rubbish is piling up in the streets as the binmen strike  Venezuelans flee as economic crisis deepens skynews rubbish venezuela crawford 4403958
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Rubbish is piling up in the streets as the binmen strike

Many of the shelves in the shops are empty. Huge long containers sit bare. The produce on sale is wildly expensive and much of it out of reach of the shoppers who invariably don’t have jobs.

The country’s hyperinflation has meant cash is scarce. The supermarket tills are devoid of all currency. Everyone pays by card.

With orange juice running into millions of Bolivares, it’s hard to come by enough paper money.

The economic crisis coupled with an intolerant government prone to locking up political opponents has sparked a mass exodus from the country akin to the huge migration of people across Europe in 2015.

:: Why is Venezuela a country in turmoil?

Supermarket shelves are bare even if you can afford food  Venezuelans flee as economic crisis deepens skynews venezuela hyperinflation 4403957
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Even if you can afford food, supermarket shelves are bare

Many people are weary and scared: scared of voicing criticism, weary of struggling from day to day when they simply can’t keep pace with rising prices.

Even the president’s attempt to curb the hyperinflation by devaluing the currency and lopping five zeroes off the Bolivares has done little other than cause much confusion.

It certainly hasn’t stemmed the tide of people rushing for the borders to find sanctuary and start new lives elsewhere.

Tens of thousands are crossing into Colombia, trekking across mountain ranges trying to get to Ecuador and Peru.

Many have no passports or IDs and are walking – some in sandals. One we spotted was in flip flops – this for a journey which is more than 1,240 miles (2,000km) long.

:: Misery of mothers fleeing with young babies amid Venezuela’s collapse

Some are attempting the walk in sandals or flip flops  Venezuelans flee as economic crisis deepens skynews venezuela hyperinflation 4403953
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Some are attempting the walk in sandals or flip-flops

We filmed several groups trekking higher and higher along long winding mountain roads where the temperature drops noticeably and they are woefully unprepared.

One group told us they are terrified of dying of cold. “We’re just worried where we are going to sleep tonight,” one man said.

“There is a place called the fridge ahead of us and we’re told eleven refugees have died there already.”

People are leaving Venezuela despite facing a walk of 2,000km to do so  Venezuelans flee as economic crisis deepens skynews venezuela maduro hyperinflation 4403950
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Venezuelans fleeing the country face a walk of 2,000km

In another group, a man holds a young baby to his chest and says: “We are doing this for the security of our children and our families.”

One of the girls in the group tells us she is just 10 years old.

“We wouldn’t do this and expose our children to this if we didn’t have to,” an older woman says.



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