The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced plans to pre-position relief supplies for enhancing the capacity of Regions 1, 7 and 9 to provide basic assistance to scores of Venezuelan migrants.
The migrants have been fleeing from the troubled country, making their way into border areas of Region One, sparking actions from the authorities to provide supplies and grapple with solutions.
According to the CDC and UNICEF in a joint statement, the number of Venezuelans into Guyana is increasing.
It was disclosed that relief supplies including for shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene are being procured within Guyana to the value of US$30,000.
The CDC said it will deploy the relief supplies within the coming weeks to the regional administrations for storage and distribution. The supplies will target an estimated 60 families per region with the total number of persons benefitting estimated at 900.
A few days ago, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, said plans are in motion for the establishment of a homestead settlement area for the 260 confirmed Venezuelans, who are occupying areas in Barima-Waini (Region One).
Minister Felix said that the resettlement area will allow the Venezuelans to be self-reliant.
“It is intended that we [will] develop something like a homestead where families are accumulated and eventually we can move them into cash crop farming. We can encourage them so that in the first instance they can feed themselves, and if they have surpluses they can sell. We are looking at crops for their sustenance and their immediate needs. Once you get that going, then the next thing is to guide them into areas in which they can sustain themselves. The immediate outcome is that we want to see them properly settled and they must be able to sustain themselves…,” he said.
Rather than criminalise the Venezuelans, Minister Felix said that the Committee and by extension, the Government, have chosen to respond to the situation in a humane manner, with concern for the safety, health, and accommodation of the migrants.
The presence of the Venezuelans in Region One was announced on his Facebook page by Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley, who said that they were mainly indigenous citizens of that Spanish-speaking, neighbouring country.
The chairman appealed for supplies for the group which includes children.
Venezuela is in the throes of major internal turmoil, with the country’s oil-rich economy in tatters and a major shortage of food, medicine and other supplies.
Thousands of persons have been crossing into other countries.
Guyana has largely escaped the migration problem but still, quite a few have reportedly slipped over, escaping unnoticed into the country.
The largely unmanned borders have not made things easier for authorities in Guyana.
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