Ecuador declares state of emergency over Venezuelan migrants at border

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in three provinces due to an unusually high volume of Venezuelan migrants crossing over the northern border with Colombia after fleeing the OPEC nation’s economic crisis.

Venezuela’s hyperinflation and chronic product shortages have fueled an exodus of citizens who typically travel by land via Colombia, often continuing south toward Andean nations including Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

“The government of Ecuador has declared a state of emergency related to human migration in the provinces of Carchi, Pichincha and El Oro to provide urgent attention to the Venezuelan migrants on the northern border,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It added that Ecuador this week began receiving 4,200 Venezuelan migrants arriving each day. It did not say how many had been arriving before or why the numbers had increased.

The state of emergency, which will last for the month of August, is meant to speed up the deployment of doctors and social workers to attend to the migrants’ needs, as well as police to provide support for immigration proceedings.

The statement added agencies including the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR, would also help in the effort.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Michael Perry