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December 17, 2018 GMT

Venezuelans are fleeing their nation’s soaring hyperinflation, mounting hunger and a crippled health care system in what has become one of the largest population movements in Latin America’s history.

 

The United Nations estimates that at least three million Venezuelans have already fled and anticipates that number could climb to as many as 5.3 million by the end of 2019.

 

Many migrants lack a passport and are compelled to make perilous treks through illegal pathways into Colombia and then embark on long journeys by foot and bus onto other nations.

 

The tide of migrants is putting stress on countries including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil as they struggle to provide desperately needed medical care, food and education to the new arrivals.

 

Venezuela’s government denies a migration crisis is underway, with President Nicolas Maduro calling it a media campaign even while his countrymen fill up public parks and shelters throughout South America.