Govt to build humanitarian centres for Venezuelan refugees

first_imgFollowing calls by Region One (Barima-Waini) Chairman Brentnol Ashley recently for Government and donor agencies to provide more assistance to Venezuelan refugees, the Administration on Monday signalled its intention to construct several facilities to respond to the Venezuelan influx. This was announced by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon at his post-Cabinet briefing.“We are going to build facilities to respond to where the Venezuelan citizens are coming from,” Harmon noted.The centres would likely be built in Region One and reports stated that a multi-agency committee, comprising the Guyana Police Force and the Citizenship and Public Health Ministries, will oversee the establishment of the Government- controlled centres. Guyana Times was told that Citizenship Minister Winston Felix was expected to visit the Region later this week and it was expected that official numbers could be released afterwards.Venezuelan refugees mainly from the Warrau tribe have been fleeing the economic and political turmoil in the Spanish-speaking country. Chairman Ashley recently called on Government and donor agencies to provide more assistance to the refugees. He, in fact, pointed out that the refugees were continuing to put a strain on the Region’s medical resources, adding that the numbers have reached some 500.According to information provided, there are over 30 persons living along the Yarakita community while over 55 foreigners have taken up boarding at Kaneville. It was also noted that Whitewater recorded the most significant number of settlers with 236 while another community, Kamwatta, had over 60. Only days ago, Government noted that the 260 confirmed Venezuelan refugees are occupying areas in Region One.Ashley told this publication on Saturday that immigration officers have been accompanying the team visiting the various communities to confirm just how many Venezuelan persons have actually taken up residence here. This should clear up the anomalies.Ashley said too that he was looking forward to Citizenship Minister Felix’s visit and along with a Civil Defence Commission (CDC) team to address the growing numbers of persons fleeing to this country.Ashley stressed that refugees needed not only food supplies but clothing as well, as Government and other donor agencies provided in the past. Many in the area have expressed concern for the safety, health, and accommodation of the migrants and the locals who live around them. However, it was reported last month that the refugees were undergoing health screening, as several were found to have malaria. Also, some persons displayed signs and symptoms of tuberculosis and others were reportedly HIV-positive.Venezuelan nationals have been crossing into Guyana, especially at Region One, to seek medical treatment for malaria. Ashley previously noted that the Region’s 2018 Budget currently did not have funds to provide for these refugees, but agencies such as Food For The Poor, the CDC and other good Samaritans, provided limited clothing and food items to the refugees. Many of them are from the Warrau tribe and many reside along the border with Guyana.last_img

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