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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Ecuador seeks $550 million to help Venezuelan migrants fleeing crisis

Some 3 million Venezuelans have fled their country as the economic crisis at home worsens

Jose Perez holds a sign that reads in Spanish “Good afternoon, I am Venezuelan. I am in this country with my wife and daughter asking for help. A job, clothing, or with anything you can. Please help. I am a father. May God repay you,” at a street corner in Quito, Ecuador. AP 
Jose Perez holds a sign that reads in Spanish “Good afternoon, I am Venezuelan. I am in this country with my wife and daughter asking for help. A job, clothing, or with anything you can. Please help. I am a father. May God repay you,” at a street corner in Quito, Ecuador. AP 

Ecuador needs some $550 million (Dh2.02bn ) to provide aid to Venezuelans fleeing their country's economic crisis and hopes to raise the funds through donations from multilateral agencies and nearby countries, an Ecuadorean official has said.

Delegations from a dozen Latin American countries met in Quito on Thursday and Friday to co-ordinate plans to deal with the Venezuelan migration crisis, which is overwhelming social services agencies throughout South America.

"We have quantified Ecuador's medium- and long-term needs at around $550 million," Santiago Chavez, deputy minister of human mobility, told reporters. "This has to do with health, education, housing and employment needs."

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Ecuador estimates that some 600,000 Venezuelan citizens have entered the country in 2018 via the Colombian border, most of whom continue on toward Peru.

Ecuador is seeking to guarantee the migrants' human rights and ensure an orderly transition to their new surroundings, Chavez added.

The Ecuadorean government also hopes to obtain resources from regional multilateral organisations and may seek to create a fund financed by countries in South America., It has arranged a meeting in Quito on November 30 that is to include the United States, Canada, Japan, Qatar and the European Union, he said.

The United Nations says around 3 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, fleeing the hyperinflationary collapse that has left millions unable to obtain basic food or medicine.