Thursday 1 October, 2020

US funding to help 800 Venezuelan children in T&T with schooling

The US is working with the government of Trinidad and Tobago to issue aid to Venezuelan asylum seekers, including providing access to education for some 800 Venezuelan children.

US Vice President Pence announced Wednesday that the US is providing nearly $61 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support the regional response for the 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled the 'man-made crisis' in their country.

Part of the funding involves US$1.6 million being channelled to Trinidad and Tobago from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to address the recent influx of Venezuelan refugees into Trinidad and Tobago. 

"In Trinidad and Tobago, the United States is providing temporary shelter and cash assistance to the most vulnerable Venezuelan households."

"As children of registered asylum-seekers are unable to attend school, U.S. partners are providing education through a temporary learning facility, while continuing to engage the local government find a more sustainable solution that would allow the approximately 800 children of Venezuelan asylum-seekers to enroll in classes," the statement said. 

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The new funding was announced at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council focused on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

The funding from Wednesday's announcement, provided by the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), complements the relief supplies that the United States and its partners have pre-positioned in Brazil, Colombia, and Curaçao since February 7, 2019.

The US has provided funding to other countries as follows:

"In Colombia, US partners provide reception support to Venezuelans, including basic food, medical care, shelter, water and sanitation, and hygiene services, while humanitarian organizations funded by the U.S. Government help provide legal documentation and help establish housing or offer relocation support. At a recently inaugurated reception center in La Guajira, for example, approximately 200 households are sheltering as of early April."

"In Brazil, US-funded organizations are providing vulnerable Venezuelans with safe drinking water and access to hygiene and sanitation services. In addition, U.S. partners are helping to relocate Venezuelans in Brazil to locations where they can access employment. Our partners are also funding local housing and transportation costs."

"In Ecuador, the US finances partners to deliver food assistance, provide shelter, and offer livelihood training to vulnerable Venezuelan migrants."

"In Peru, the United States is providing hot meals and nutritional support. S.-financed partners are meeting Venezuelan refugees at the border and helping connect them to organizations that can help them with shelter, health care, and other social services. U.S. partners are also providing direct assistance to families, offering them the flexibility to secure what they need most – whether food or household items from local markets, personal supplies, or a place to stay."

The US said it has provided more than $213 million in humanitarian assistance to provide life-saving aid and critical basic social services – including shelter, emergency food and health assistance, safe drinking water, protection from violence and exploitation, and access to work and education opportunities – to the most vulnerable Venezuelans living in 16 countries in the region.

This assistance complements the efforts of host countries to help those who have fled repression and chaos in Venezuela.

The US said this announcement brings their assistance to the Venezuelan crisis in the region to more than $256 million since Fiscal Year 2017, including more than $213 million in humanitarian aid, and approximately $43 million in development and economic assistance.

"These investments support emergency response efforts throughout the region, and build long-term capacity to assist those who have fled the crisis in Venezuela."

"As the Vice President reiterated at the UN today, we continue to commend the contributions of the governments and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean that are generously hosting Venezuelan refugees and permitting the pre-positioning of humanitarian assistance during this time of crisis. The United States calls on other donors to contribute to meeting the growing needs in Venezuela and the region," the statement ended. 

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