February 6, 2019 / 3:39 PM / 4 months ago

International Red Cross steps up aid operations in Venezuela

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross has doubled its budget in Venezuela to 18 million Swiss francs in recent weeks and is also helping Venezuelan migrants in neighbouring Colombia and Brazil, ICRC President Peter Maurer said on Wednesday.

The ICRC, a neutral independent aid agency, is working with the national Venezuelan Red Cross, mainly on health projects, and not taking sides in the political conflict between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, Maurer said.

“So that is a growing operation,” Maurer told a news briefing. “At the present moment our concern and focus is really on the one side to increase our response to Venezuelans, and the other to keep away from the political controversy and political divisions which are characteristic to the crisis in Venezuela.”

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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