Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Peru declared a 60-day health emergency Tuesday as the country deals with an influx of thousands of Venezuelan migrants fleeing an economic crisis back home.
Health officials in Peru are worried about the spread of communicable diseases in the north as Venezuelans crossed the border ahead of new immigration rules. The two countries don't share a common border, but Peruvian authorities say more than 300,000 Venezuelans have immigrated to the country this year.
There are 400,000 Venezuelans living in Peru, 178,000 of which have permission to be there, Voice of America reported.
Peru started requiring passports for Venezuelans entering the country as of Aug. 25.
The International Organization for Migration and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said last week that more than 2.3 million Venezuelans are living abroad and more than 1.6 million have left the country since 2015. The U.N. agencies expressed concerns over Peru's new passport requirement.
"We recognize the growing challenges associated with the large scale arrival of Venezuelans. It remains critical that any new measures continue to allow those in need of international protection to access safety and seek asylum," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio told Radio Programas the government has asked the United Nations for assistance with the influx of Venezuelan migrants, Bloomberg reported.
Venezuela's economic crisis, exacerbated by a fall in oil prices, has caused basic goods, including food and medicine, to be in short supply, unavailable or unaffordable.