U.S. to provide $2.5M in aid to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia

USAID announces new emergency aid effort involving United Nations

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Agency for International Development announced Tuesday that they will be providing $2.5 million in emergency assistance to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. 

USAID administrator Mark Green said in a statement that the food and medical aid will be distributed in the Colombian border communities hosting the refugees. 

Green said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's administration's political mismanagement and corruption were to blame for the humanitarian crisis. 

"Even as people are suffering every day from hunger, lack of basic necessities, and preventable diseases, the Maduro regime continues to deny fundamental freedoms and access to basic humanitarian needs," Green said

The United Nations estimates more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have been displaced. Colombian officials estimate about 600,000 were living in Colombia. USAID is partnering with the Pan American Health Organization and the UN World Food Program to provide the assistance.

The USAID announcement follows a visit by the former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to Colombia, where he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss Plan Colombia and the crisis in Venezuelan. After Tillerson's visit, Santos was in Cucuta, the largest Colombian city near the border with Venezuela, and promised to set up a center to help refugees. 

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