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article image'Urgent' donations needed to deal with Venezuela's migrant crisis: UN envoy

By AFP     Oct 16, 2018 in World

The UN special envoy for Venezuelan migrants called Tuesday for international donations to help South American countries deal with an "avalanche" of migrants from the crisis-wracked country.

"We will be appealing to donors... who can channel this emergency aid in the shortest time possible," Eduardo Stein said during a visit to the Colombian border city of Cucuta -- the main point of entry for Venezuelan migrants to the country.

"Colombia has been using its regular budgets" to address "the human avalanche coming from the neighboring country" but it is no longer enough, said Stein, UN special envoy on the crisis.

He said donations are needed because of the delay in approval of resources from international organizations.

"These financing processes take several months and this situation needs urgent help," he said, after visiting the Simon Bolivar international bridge that separates Colombia from its crisis-torn neighbor.

Stein, a former Guatemalan vice president, was jointly appointed as special envoy for Venezuela's migrants by the UNHCR and the UN's migration agency in September.

Colombia has taken around half the nearly two million people the UN says have exited Venezuela since 2015, driven by economic collapse which has led to dire shortages of food and medicine.

President Ivan Duque has called for international help to deal with the crisis, saying it was costing his government about 0.5 percent of GDP -- or around $1.3 billion.

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