Gov’t shelter program for Venezuelans in Brazil extended

The initiative includes shelter and relocation plans for immigrants

Published on 18/01/2019 - 14:17 By Victor Ribeiro* - Victor Ribeiro

Operação Acolhida (Operation Shelter), which welcomes and resettles Venezuelan immigrants in Brazil, will be extended until March 2020, and frontiers with the neighboring country have been confirmed not to be shut down. The decision was announced Thursday (Jan. 17) by Brazil’s Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva, and Roraima state Governor Antonio Denarium. The two and four other ministers paid a visit to the facilities used in the operation in Roraima capital Boa Vista. Today (18), the officials will be taken to border area.

The authorities will inspect the buildings used in the operation, located in the border municipality of Pacaraima. The town is regarded as the main gateway for immigrants from Venezuela. This is where a group of Venezuelans were attacked and set fire to on the street.

Azevedo e Silva noted the possibility of interrupting the process, slated to end on March 31, pointing out that further resources will be allocated. Without getting into detail, he reported that some aspects are to be enhanced. “The [spending] forecast is limited. The budget is yet to be assessed before we can move on.”

Taking action

Launched by the federal government early in March 2018 in a bid to tackle the humanitarian crisis brought about by Venezuelan migration waves, Operation Shelter is spearheaded by the Humanitarian Logistics Task Force—an initiative encompassing a number of ministries as well as federal, state, and municipal agencies.

The efforts aimed at assisting Venezuelans entering Brazil to escape the crisis and the political instability in their country include the provision of meals, shelter, and medical care, in addition to regulating the legal situation of immigrants wishing to remain in Brazil and the relocation of families to other areas.

Operation Shelter has engaged around 600 military Air Forces, Army, and Navy agents.

As per official data, most immigrants coming in seek to proceed to other states and countries. Colombia is the most sought-after place in the Americas.

Since 2017, 180 thousand Venezuelans have migrated via Pacaraima. According to the latest surveys, 5.8 thousand of this total are in Roraima, and 4.2 thousand have been relocated to 15 other states through the resettling plan.

*Reporter with Rádio Nacional

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Renata Giraldi / Graça Adjuto

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