UNICEF official urges more support to Venezuelan migrant children

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-12 03:02:09|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and British actor Liam Neeson has called for increased support to refugee and migrant children from Venezuela after a visit to the Brazil-Venezuela border.

In a press release Friday, Neeson made the appeal after concluding a four-day visit where he met with displaced Venezuelan children and families, as well as those from host communities.

He said the families and children he talked to were "exhausted, vulnerable, and still in shock as they left everything behind them."

"As a father, my heart broke when I heard their stories. But I also saw hope in the eyes of refugee children who seized every opportunity to learn in a safe environment, grow healthy and eventually, rebuild their lives in Brazil," he said.

Neeson traveled to the border crossing in Pacaraima of Brazil. Venezuelans received information on asylum applications and residency permits, and they were given vaccinations if necessary.

In Boa Vista, some 220 km from the Brazilian border, he visited one of the largest shelters for Venezuelans in the country.

The UNICEF ambassador participated in recreational and educational activities aimed at preparing children and adolescents for their integration into Brazilian schools.

He said that during his visit, he saw "the power of young Venezuelans and Brazilians coming together, living together," adding their friendship is a sign of hope for the future of both Venezuelan refugees and host communities.

According to UNICEF, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are hosting about 3.9 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees in what has become one of the world's largest migration flows.

The number of families leaving Venezuela continues to rise. This year, over 1.9 million children, including both Venezuelan migrants and those from host communities, are expected to need assistance.