Scores of Venezuelan refugees in the Barima-Waini region, who fled their home country to escape worsened economic and social conditions, were recipients of a number of relief items distributed by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on Friday.The exercise focused on the Khan’s Hill and White-Water communities. The mission was led by CDC Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, and comprised representatives of the region’s Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force.Among the items distributed were food and other relief items. The food items were compliments of DeSinco Trading Limited, which donated 50 food hampers to the CDC last month. The other relief items were donations from the International Organisation for Migrantion (IOM) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).The distribution of the items was conducted by Major Archer and his ranks based at White Water and Maburama, while transportation support was provided by both the Police and Defence Forces, as well as by the RDC.In addition to distributing the relief items, the mission also interacted with the migrants and residents in the communities with the aim of monitoring and evaluating Government’s response to the influx of migrants from Venezuela in Region One.Over the past two years, Venezuela has been experiencing worsening economic turmoil following the decline of oil prices on the world market. The country is in its fourth consecutive year of recession.Reports coming out of the Spanish-speak State reveal there is massive food shortages and limited access to basic healthcare and basic amenities, such as electricity in certain parts. Additionally, there continues to be rampant outbursts of looting and violence across some of the most affected cities in the neighbouring country.To this end, scores of Guyanese living in the neighbouring country have been returning home and there has also been a high influx of Venezuelans escaping to Guyana to seek refuge.Back in July, Region One Chairman Brentnol Ashley had disclosed that some 268 Venezuelan refugees are in his region alone, staying in churches and makeshift tents with little to no belongings.He had decried the lack of support from Central Government in providing assistance for not only returning Guyanese but also Venezuelan refugees, saying the region’s already small budget is being strained.In response to the influx of returning migrants, Government has established a Multi-Sectoral Committee to coordinate the national response and assistance to these refugees. Moreover on Thursday last, local public officers undergo a one-day training on the international best practice in assisting migrants and protecting them from abuse and exploitation of any kind.The workshop was aimed at capacity building to better equip representatives and agencies to respond effectively to this and other such occurrences in the future. It focused on issues such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling, migrants’ vulnerabilities, and direct assistance and referral systems for migrants.