By Bibi Khatoon
The Region One (Barima-Waini) Democratic Council along with health officials are grappling to deal with a large influx of Venezuelans who have intercepted the borders at the weekend.
Regional Chair, Brentnol Ashley told News Room that over 110 persons, believed to be from the Warrau tribe, arrived in Guyana between Friday, July 06, 2018 and Saturday, July 07, 2018 but this number could have increased since.
The majority of the migrants are children.
News Room understands that they arrived via canoes from Amaku and Orinaku in the neighbouring Spanish-speaking country and are being taken care of by the Region’s Disaster Risk Management Committee.
Ashley disclosed that the migrants are camping in the communities of Khan Hill, Kamwatta, Smyth Creek, Whitewater and Powaikaru in the Mabaruma Sub-region.
While one family was able to find Guyanese relatives and have settled, the others have set up shacks in the various areas since they are not related to anyone here.
The Regional Chair noted that some of the migrants have Malaria, rashes, cold and fever and some of the children are malnourished.
The regional authorities are finding it difficult to communicate with them since they all speak Spanish, however, the region has a number of Cuban-trained doctors who have been able to communicate with the patients and administer medical treatment.
“There are young babies and several of them were hospitalised (at the Mabaruma Regional Hospital), we still have about three or more hospitalised. We have pregnant mothers in the camp and so we are monitoring,” the Regional Chair said.
The situation has put a strain on the region’s health system.
Another challenge for the regional authorities is associated with hygiene which led the RDC to send environment officers to the locations to teach the persons how to keep themselves and surroundings clean in order to reduce the chances of illness.
The Disaster Risk Management Committee is sourcing clothing, mattresses, food items and other items with some help from Food For the Poor (FFP) for the migrants.
The Region has also been funding the transportation costs for persons who are travelling to and from the hospital.
Ashley said the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) was contacted to aid in the relief efforts.
However, the Regional Chair is pleading with persons to lend assistance in the form of clothing, food items, water, mattresses or cots and other items.
All donations can be made to the Office of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) – Mabaruma Compound while persons who need more information are asked to contact 777- 5029.