16,000 Venezuelans apply for refugee status in Brazil in 6 months
12 Jul 2018, 11:24 ( 12 Jul, 2018)
Over 16,000 Venezuelan citizens crossed the border to Brazil and applied for refugee status in the first half of 2018, the Brazilian Federal Police said on Wednesday.
The figures are already higher than the total number of refuge requests received in the entire year of 2017, the Federal Police said, adding that there were 3,500 requests last year.
The largest number of refuge requests was made in May, when Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as Venezuela's president.
According to police, 1,953 refuge requests were filed from January to June 22 in the Brazilian state of Roraima, which borders Venezuela.
Roraima has the majority of immigrants. Authorities estimated there were some 25,000 Venezuelan residents in the state capital Boa Vista alone, which account for 7.5 percent of the city's total population.
Roraima has called for federal aid for the state that has been facing several problems lately, such as a higher demand for public healthcare and school services and housing.
The state has even registered an outbreak of measles. The number of measles cases in the state jumped from eight to 200, forcing state capital Boa Vista to declare a state of emergency in March. The state has since then carried out an extensive vaccination campaign.