BUSLOADS OF VENEZUELANS ARRIVE AT PERU BORDER AFTER ECUADOR OPENS CORRIDOR
Buses carrying Venezuelans to Peru on Friday through a humanitarian passage provided by Ecuador arrived late at night at the border pass of Huaquillas ahead of a deadline set by Lima.
Five out of 36 buses arrived shortly before 10 pm (03.00 GMT Saturday) after a journey of about 18 hours, just ahead of a midnight deadline from when Peru was expected to demand passports before allowing people into their territory. Until then, identity cards were also accepted.
The mass of migrants needed to go through the official procedures at the border before the new measures came into force.
Ecuador granted passage through the country on humanitarian grounds allowing Venezuelan migrants to cross from the northern border with Colombia and down into Peru.
Thousands of people have fled Venezuela due to an acute economic and political crisis in the country, which has seen hyperinflation cripple the economy and lead to a shortage of basic necessities such as food and medicine.
Although there were 36 buses scheduled to take the migrants across, only 24 of them had started the journey, most of them from Tulcan in Ecuador.
On their way to Peru in buses provided by the Ecuador government, the migrants – with many children among them – covered a distance of nearly 840 kilometers (522 miles).
On Friday night, thousands of Venezuelans stood in long queues on the Ecuador-Peru border to enter Peru ahead of the midnight deadline.
A large number of buses were expected to reach the border just ahead of midnight.
The new passport rule means thousands of Venezuelans may end up stranded in Ecuador and Colombia, which have already taken in many fleeing the crisis.
Peru hosts around 400,000 Venezuelans, the majority of which arrived in the last year. Eighty percent of them entered with a passport, while 20% entered with identity cards, according to migration data.
Those looking to stay in Peru would require residency permits, 71,000 of which have already been granted while another 100,000 are being processed.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK