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Donors' conference for Venezuelan refugees hosted by Canada aims to raise $1.44B

Last Updated Jun 11, 2021 at 10:00 am MDT

OTTAWA — Global Affairs Canada’s assistant deputy minister says a conference Canada will host next week for donors to Venezuelan refugees will highlight key challenges six million refugees are facing and raise funds to address these challenges.

Michael Grant told a virtual news conference today the world should provide sufficient support to countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean that have offered shelter, health care, education, and safety to Venezuelan refugees. 

He says the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis is the largest the Western Hemisphere has ever seen, and the second largest in the world after the exodus from Syria, but it is not getting nearly the visibility it deserves. 

Eduardo Stein, representative for Venezuela of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Immigration, says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the dire conditions in which Venezuelan refugees live in 17 countries.

He says a total of $1.44 billion is needed to implement a plan that was put together by 159 organizations across 17 countries that host refugees and migrants from Venezuela.

Stein says prolonged lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty are forcing many to depend on emergency humanitarian assistance to survive.

Grant says Canada is optimistic to see new donors come to the table next week, but he didn’t say how much money Canada will contribute. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press