A Venezuelan mother tells Sky’s Alex Crawford she prefers the desperate conditions at a camp in Colombia to life in her homeland.

Desperate mothers are fleeing Venezuela with young babies and toddlers to find better lives in neighbouring Latin American countries.

One young mother of four toddlers told Sky News that despite the dangers and poverty facing her, life is still better than in her homeland of Venezuela.

She is amongst tens of thousands of Venezuelans who are flooding across the borders to try to seek sanctuary elsewhere.

They are fleeing social and economic collapse in Venezuela, which has hyperinflation, prices spiralling out of control, few jobs and a rampant black market.

We found 25-year-old Elisabeth Hernandez at the back of a church food-distribution centre in the Colombian border town of Cucuta.

Elisabeth Hernandez
Image:Elisabeth Hernandez, 25, with her four young children in the Colombian border town of Cucuta

She was sitting eating a free meal handed out by the church along with her four very young children.

She told us she had fled Margarita Island in Venezuela, hitchhiking by boat and then vehicle before crossing the border into Colombia by foot at Cucuta.

She has already been in Colombia for a month.

Looking at her four tiny children – the youngest is eight months old and still being breastfed and the eldest is six – we’re staggered how she’s managed to do this long journey on her own.

The father of the children left Venezuela a few months ago, abandoning her and the other children, taking their eldest child, eight, with him to Peru. That’s her intended destination too.

Families gather in the Colombian town of Cucuta
Image:Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing

She is waiting for her mother, who is still in Venezuela, to be able to make the crossing and join her before they all begin another long journey, trekking through Ecuador and then into Peru, some 2,269km away through some mountainous terrain.

Right now though, she is stuck in Cucuta, unable to move because she has no money and no official papers. She and the children are sleeping in the laboratory room of a disused school in the border town.

Families with young children are fleeing Venezuela in search of better lives
Image:Families with young children are fleeing Venezuela in search of better lives

The building is filled with Venezuelan refugees who have made it across to Colombia only to find it is hard to move on with little or no funds.

Elisabeth is trying to gather money together by doing laundry for anyone who will let her.


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