February 14, 2018 / 7:41 PM / 5 months ago

Brazil to increase army presence on border with Venezuela

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s government will declare an emergency in its northern border state of Roraima to boost funding and troops to help control an influx of Venezuelan refugees into the country, Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Defense Minister Raul Jungmann speaks during a news conference for foreign journalists in Brasilia, Brazil, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Thousands of Venezuelans escaping economic crisis in the Andean country have crossed the border with Brazil in recent months. The local government said Venezuelan arrivals represent 10 percent of the population of Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista, or around 40,000 people, straining public services.

According to Jungmann, the armed forces will double troop numbers in the state, set up a field hospital and create a screening center for Venezuelans.

Brazilian President Michel Temer flew to Boa Vista on Monday for meetings with local authorities to assess the situation.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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