On the Move
While migrants fleeing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East have drawn most of the world’s attention, tens of thousands fleeing the economic meltdown and political turmoil in Venezuela also threaten to overwhelm Brazil.
Already, as many as 40,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Brazil, a bit more than half of whom have applied for asylum, said George Okoth-Obbo, operations chief for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.
“Shelters are already crowded to their limit,” Reuters quoted him as saying. “It is a very tough situation.”
Hundreds of thousands have also fled to Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia. There are no official numbers on the total number of migrants. But some sociologists put the figure as high as 2 million of Venezuela’s 30 million residents.
The city of Boa Vista is struggling to accommodate the flood, housing some migrants in impromptu facilities like a local gym, while others remain homeless or turn to prostitution and other crimes to survive, the agency said.