May 9 (UPI) -- The municipality of Manaus in Brazil declared a social emergency due to an influx of more than 400 indigenous Warao Venezuelans escaping crisis.
The Warao, who said they left Venezuela due to the lack of food and the ongoing political and economic crisis, are camped out under a Manaus viaduct near the Manaus Bus Station, Jornal O Globo reported. The emergency decree seeks government funds to help with the influx.
The Warao, which have a total population of about 20,000, mostly live on houses built atop Venezuela's Orinoco river. Some said they have traveled more than 1,200 miles to reach Brazil, most migrating to the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Roraima.
The government of Manaus said the Warao are camped in public areas where children, adolescents and the elderly are especially under threat. Manaus officials said they deployed the city's municipal secretariat for Women, Social Assistance and Human Rights to ensure the Warao are provided humanitarian assistance.
Manaus revealed the emergency decree on Monday, which it issued on Thursday.
"Decree 3689, which declares a social emergency, was published in the Official Gazette of the Municipality. It bureaucratizes care for the families of Venezuelan indigenous people of the Warao ethnic group," the city said in a statement. "Today, in addition to the need to shelter this population, the greatest concern of the municipal public authority is the possibility of disseminating opportunistic and easily transmitted diseases, which can cause serious health risks for immigrants and Manaus."
Brazil's Ministry of Justice said more than 5,400 Venezuelans have requested visas and requested permission to stay in Brazil.