Peru takes steps to deal with influx of migrants from Venezuela

Latin America

Peruvian officials have declared a health emergency amid the influx of thousands of Venezuelan migrants fleeing the economic and political crisis back home.

Many are seeking asylum and trying to reach Peru despite stiffer entry rules now in effect.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns visited the Peruvian city of Tumbes, on the country’s northern border with Ecuador.

Earlier this week, Peru imposed new entry restrictions in an effort to stem the flow of migrants from Venezuela. Previously, they could enter with ID documents – now they must have passports.

Applying for asylum is the only option left for Venezuelans arriving in Peru without a passport. They can get a work permit while living in the country and their case is considered.

Migration officials said the number of Venezuelan migrants has dropped by half since the new entry requirement. But now hundreds more are seeking asylum in Peru. Among them are children and teenagers, some of whom traveled alone.

The influx of migrants has prompted the authorities to declare an imminent danger to health and sanitation in this northern region. Medics offer free vaccinations to prevent the spread of diseases. Officials said malnutrition and anemia are common among new arrivals in this small border town and are concerned about the potential humanitarian crisis building across the continent.