Sonia Bermúdez lives in the Colombian town of Riohacha, 60 miles from the border with Venezuela. There she runs a local cemetery called ‘People Like Us,’ and since late 2017, she’s buried at least 70 Venezuelan migrants who’ve died too poor to afford a funeral.
“I see that everyone, even the UN, is providing help. They are worried about health care, food supply, and dealing with the migrants’ basic needs. But they’re not thinking about death,” she told VICE News.
Three million Venezuelans have fled the country so far; a third have moved to neighboring Colombia. Many of the migrants can’t afford to pay for a place to sleep … and some die without enough money to cover the cost of a burial.
“God says that we all deserve to die with dignity. So, it’s very important for me that human beings have a decent burial,” Bermúdez said.
On January 10th, Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for his second six-year term as Venezuela’s president. This despite the fact that the economy has collapsed on his watch and many are going hungry.
The UN estimates there will be 5.3 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela by 2020.
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