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Brazil to declare emergency on Venezuela border

February 16, 2018

The emergency declaration comes as 40,000 Venezuelans have poured across Brazil's northern border in recent months. The influx has stressed infrastructure and caused security concerns.

Venezuelan woman and her child sit at a gym which has turned into a shelter for Venezuelans
Image: Reuters/N. Doce

Brazil will declare a "state of social emergency" and double troop numbers in the northern state of Roraima in response to an influx of Venezuelans fleeing an economic and political crisis in the country, the government said Thursday.

The declaration will provide funding for infrastructure and a humanitarian response in the northern Amazonian region after 40,000 Venezuelans in recent months fled to Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima.

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The military will also double troops in the area to 200, erect more control posts and establish a field hospital for migrants.

The migrant influx has overwhelmed Boa Vista, a city of nearly 400,000 people. Many Venezuelans are living in the streets.

There are growing concerns among local residents about crime and Venezuelans taking jobs away from Brazilians.

Two residences housing Venezuelans were set alight last week — five people were injured. 

Temer promises response

Brazilian President Michel Temer visited Roraima on Monday to asses the crisis situation and promised a government response. The president suggested that some migrants could be moved to other states, but insisted that Brazil would not turn its back on the people fleeing misery.

Economic collapse and hyperinflation have devastated oil-rich Venezuela and sent many people into abject poverty, with basic goods and services lacking.

More than 550,000 Venezuelans have also fled to neighboring Colombia.

cw/cmk (AFP, KNA, EFE)

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