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Ecuador Says It Needs $550M to Help Venezuelan Migrants 

FILE - A Venezuelan woman holds a girl at a health post for migrants in Cucuta, along Colombia's border with Venezuela, July 16, 2018.

Ecuador needs $550 million to provide aid to Venezuelan citizens fleeing their country's economic crisis, and it hopes to raise the funds through donations from multilateral agencies and nearby countries, an Ecuadorian official said Friday.

Delegations from a dozen Latin American countries met in Quito on Thursday and Friday to coordinate plans to deal with the Venezuelan migration crisis, which is overwhelming social services agencies throughout South America.

"We have quantified Ecuador's medium- and long-term needs at around $550 million," Santiago Chavez, deputy minister of human mobility, told reporters. "This has to do with health, education, housing and employment needs."

Ecuador estimates that 600,000 Venezuelan citizens have entered the country in 2018 via the Colombian border, most of whom continue toward Peru.

Ecuador is seeking to guarantee the migrants' human rights and ensure an orderly transition to their new surroundings, Chavez added.

Ecuador's government also hopes to obtain resources from regional multilateral organizations and may seek to create a fund financed by countries in the region, he said, adding that it has arranged a meeting in Quito on Nov. 30 that is to include the United States, Canada, Japan, Qatar and the European Union.

The United Nations says around 3 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, fleeing the hyperinflationary collapse that has left millions unable to obtain basic food or medicine.