By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) - The United Nations on Monday called on the international community to strengthen their support to countries like Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, which shared the burdens of the refugee flow from Venezuela.
“To date, the Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, remains severely under-funded, with close to 79% of funding requirements (US$ 580 million) still unmet,” the UN said in a statement.
Adding that the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, sent additional teams to the border between Peru and Ecuador to support the authorities, it said over 15,000 Venezuelan migrants entered Peru this week.
Referring to the thousands of Venezuelans crossing the borders at northwestern Tumbes province of Peru, the head of UNHCR in Peru, Federico Agusti said that people are facing more and more vulnerable situations.
“Some have been walking for 30 or 40 days through various countries in the region. We see people suffering from malnutrition or dehydration and people with medical problems. There are more and more families with children,” said Agusti.
“The total number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the country now stands at about 800,000. In total, to date, Peru has received over 280,000 asylum applications by Venezuelan citizens and given temporary residence permits to over 390,000,” it added.
On June 8, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a reopening of the Venezuela-Colombia border which has been closed since Feb. 22.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Tensions escalated days later when Guaido declared himself acting president, a move supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.
Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have thrown their weight behind Maduro.