Red Cross: Urgent solution needed for Venezuelan refugees in Aruba, Curaçao | THE DAILY HERALD

Netherlands Red Cross Director Marieke van Schaik (centre), Netherlands Red Cross Chairperson Inge Brakman (second right), and three Venezuelan women.



WILLEMSTAD–A humanitarian solution is urgently needed for the Venezuelans who have fled to Aruba and Curaçao, according to the Netherlands Red Cross.

  “Thousands of people have fled from Venezuela and now live in the islands and have to find food, shelter or medicine for themselves. People constantly live in fear; exploitation and human trafficking are major risks. The Red Cross helps people who come to them … but this is not a sustainable situation,” said the Netherlands Red Cross.

  “Of course, we help Venezuelans who see no way out and ask us for help, but we would like to work with other parties in the islands to find a more structural solution. The Dutch government must also play an important role in this.

  “I spoke to some Venezuelan women who fled violence in their country. In Curaçao, they can hardly provide for their living expenses. The Red Cross paid one of them for the cost of giving birth to her twins. The mother is very concerned how she can take care of the two-month-old twins.

  “She and her husband are constantly looking for work. If they find something, it is for a while and they get paid very badly. Moreover, they are terrified of being arrested and detained at any moment,” said Netherlands Red Cross Director Marieke van Schaik, who just returned to the Netherlands from a working visit to Curaçao.

  A solution in the islands is urgently needed because the situation in Venezuela is still deteriorating, the Red Cross said. It is expected that five million Venezuelans will leave the troubled South American nation by the end of the year. This would make Venezuela the country with the second largest number of refugees after Syria.

  A small proportion of Venezuelan refugees now live in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Due to the deterioration of Curaçao’s economy, the Red Cross said it will also consider a growing demand for help from the local population.

  The Netherlands Red Cross opened a fund earlier this year to help displaced Venezuelans. More than 450,000 euros have been raised so far, but “much more is needed,” according to the organisation.

  The Red Cross wants to offer more assistance to Venezuelans in Aruba and Curaçao, in close consultation with local government and communities. To do this, it is urgently looking for additional money.

  “We now mainly help those who need acute medical care and are unable to pay these costs; for example, during childbirth or caesarean sections. We are working together with a general practitioner in Curaçao, but they cannot afford the more complex requests for medical assistance. In Aruba, we also pay the cost so that Venezuelan children can go to school as normal. Think of school fees, uniforms and the school bus,” said Van Schaik.

Source: The Daily Herald