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Ambassador Haley to announce $9 million in U.S. aid for Venezuelans in Colombia

The Trump administration will provide an additional $9 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelan refugees who have fled into Colombia, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will announce the funds on Wednesday, provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development, during a visit to the Colombia-Venezuela border where tens of thousands of Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar bridge into Cúcuta, Colombia every day seeking food, medical assistance and work.

Haley led a U.S. presidential delegation to Colombia this week for the inauguration of the new Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez on Tuesday. She then traveled to the border to “get a first-hand look at how Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis is affecting the region.”

“She will meet with Venezuelans forced to flee their homes and tour humanitarian food and health facilities,” Haley’s office said in a statement.

The region is under alert as millions of Venezuelans have fled the once-mighty nation amid government mismanagement and record-breaking inflation. The economy has largely collapsed and millions have been left short of food and medicine.

The $9 million to be announced Wednesday is part of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and U.S. Agency for International Development’s contributions of $46 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance for the regional Venezuelan crisis.

USAID administration Mark Green is expected to provide an update on the challenges the region faces from the massive influx of Venezuelans fleeing their country’s economic and humanitarian crisis during a talk in Washington on Wednesday at the Council of the Americas.

“The world owes Colombia a debt of gratitude for its willingness to accommodate the Venezuelans who have fled there,” Green said during his talk. “And we’re supporting their efforts.”

The additional money is expected to go toward USAID projects that help the Colombian government and local aid groups who are struggling to provide necessary medical and social services to hundreds of thousands of desperate Venezuelans who have put a strain on Colombian’s healthcare system, schools and other social services.

[This story has been updated to include the higher contribution of $9 million in humanitarian assistance from the United States. ]

Franco Ordoñez: 202-383-6155, @francoordonez
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