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US announces $376M humanitarian aid package to address Venezuela migrant crisis

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BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - The Colombian President, Ivan Duque Marquez (Not Seen), and the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, speak after a meeting on his first official visit to South America at Casa de Nariño Palace in Bogota, Colombia on October 20, 2021. ( Juancho Torres - Anadolu Agency )
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Sep 23, 2022 - 01:12 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – The US announced a $376 million humanitarian aid package Thursday to alleviate the stresses prompted by an ongoing surge in the number of migrants fleeing Venezuela.

The funding will be used to support food assistance, emergency shelter and health care programs, provide water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and protect groups made vulnerable by the crisis, including women, youth and indigenous and LGBTIQ+ individuals, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“Our assistance supports the most vulnerable among the more than 7 million Venezuelans with critical needs inside Venezuela, the nearly 6.8 million who have sought refuge in 17 countries across the region, and the host communities that have welcomed them,” said the top diplomat.

Just under half of the funds will be dispersed through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration while the rest will flow through the US Agency for International Development, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Total US assistance devoted to the regional crisis has now hit $2.7 billion since 2017, according to the State Department.

The package comes as the US grapples with a record number of migrants illegally crossing its southern border, fueled in large part by people fleeing three countries, including Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.

More than 55,000 people from those countries have been taken into custody after attempting to cross the US-Mexico border in August, according to official data. The figure is a 175% increase compared to the same month a year ago.

The US announced Wednesday it would provide nearly $200 million to NGOs operating in Mexico and Central America to “support the humanitarian and protection needs of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants,” Blinken said in a separate statement.

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