Brazil's Manaus declares emergency over Venezuelan migrants
Posted May 8
BRASILIA, Brazil — The mayor of the Amazonia city of Manaus announced Monday that he is taking emergency measures to deal with a sudden influx of people from Venezuela, which has been rocked by political and economic turmoil.
Mayor Arthur Neto issued a social emergency decree to allow spending of emergency funds.
Neto said at least 355 Venezuelans, mostly members of the Warao indigenous group in Venezuela, had set up camps in the city of 2 million people in northern Brazil.
City hall said later that they had come looking for jobs as Venezuela struggles with shortages of food and other goods as well as political protests.
Most of the Venezuelans are camping in downtown Manaus, at the city's bus terminal and near key streets.
According to municipal secretary Elias Emanuel, the Venezuelans arrived seeking jobs in the city's industrial complex, but they lack documents to be employed.
"Now our Federal Police will help them. We want to include them in our social programs, too, but since they are foreign Indians we really need support," Emanuel said in a statement.
Neto said Manaus is offering to bus the Venezuelans back to their homeland, which is about 430 miles (700 kilometers) to the north.
Camps of Venezuelan migrants also have appeared in another northern provincial capital, Boa Vista.