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Belongings of Venezuelan refugees being destroyed in the Brazilian border town of Pacaraima. Belongings of Venezuelan refugees being destroyed in the Brazilian border town of Pacaraima.  (AFP or licensors)

Acute border crisis

An emergency meeting of Brazil`s president and key ministers ends in troop deployment to the border with Venezuela, following a major eruption of violence by locals against refugees.

by James Blears

The scenario...the small Border  town of Pacaraima numbering twelve thousand.  An influx of twelve hundred Venezuelan refugees, desperate to escape the worsening economic chaos of their floundering homeland, precariously establishing themselves,  and trying to exist in two tent cities.

Then the catalyst which sparked simmering and welling tensions, turning them into to a searing inferno.  A local man was attacked and severely injured, allegedly by a refugee.

The tent cities were torched, and the terrified refugees fled back into Venezuela.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has met with the Ministers of Defence, Security and the Foreign Secretary.  A small contingent of troops has been sent.

The Venezuelan Government is appealing to Brazil to guarantee the safety of their citizens.  Similar exoduses have already moved into Colombia and Peru.  The United Nations estimates that almost two and a half million Venezuelans have already fled their country. The one way flow is gathering pace, day by day.

Listen to James Blears' report

 

20 August 2018, 09:39