UNICEF supports refugees and migrants affected by tropical storm in Roraima

Together with Operation Welcome's Humanitarian Logistics Task Force and partner agencies, the United Nations Children's Fund provides support to affected migrant communities

21 September 2022
Foto mostra um caminhão-pipa com o logo do UNICEF
UNICEF/BRZ/Amanda Panarini

Boa Vista, September 21, 2022 – Part of the city of Boa Vista, capital of the state of Roraima, in the extreme north of Brazil, was hit by heavy rains last Saturday, September 17th. The tropical storm affected the infrastructure of shelters and welcoming spaces that welcome Venezuelan migrants and refugees.

The UNICEF team has been in the field since Sunday, assessing the impact of heavy rains on shelters and welcoming spaces and ensuring assistance to affected children and families. Many of these spaces are suffering from lack of electricity and lack of drinking water. In addition, a good part of the buildings and physical structures were left without a roof, including those intended for housing for migrants and refugees.

“We are working intensively to re-establish the services of UNICEF and its partners in the shelters and welcoming spaces. We need to pay special attention to children and adolescents, who are especially vulnerable in emergency situations. We intensified the work, together with the partners of Operation Welcome, to restore as quickly as possible basic services, such as access to quality water, and ensure that children and adolescents are protected, healthy and in school", explained Daiana Pena, head of UNICEF Office in Roraima.

The impact was big on Bairro 13 de Setembro, where most of the Operation Welcome shelters are located, and all the shelter centers were hit with the passage of the tropical storm. In the Pricumã shelter, for example, 34 temporary shelters for refugees were completely destroyed. At Espaço Emergencial 13 de Setembro, about 100 people had to be relocated to other shelters due to damage to temporary housing. Another worrying fact is that the installations of the Súper Panas project (spaces where UNICEF and partners develop educational and psychosocial activities) in the Rondon 1, Pricumã and Waraotuma a Tuaranoko shelters were compromised, most of them without a roof and with teaching materials damaged by rainwater.

UNICEF and its partners acted quickly to ensure that children, adolescents and families were supported. On Sunday, health teams were available in the spaces to care for the population of the shelters. Water, sanitation and hygiene monitors made a rapid assessment of needs related to drinking water and toilets. In addition, they supported the organization of migrants to access water, clean environments, collect waste and distribute sodium hypochlorite. The education spaces affected by the storm were cordoned off so that repairs could begin last Monday morning. UNICEF mobilized a water truck in conjunction with Caer to provide emergency access to drinking water at the Waraotuma a Tuaranoko indigenous shelter.

UNICEF's work to ensure care and protection to save lives and defend the rights of refugee and migrant children and adolescents from Venezuela is possible thanks to the generous contributions of our donors, with whom we share these actions and results: the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Canada and the Germain Committee for UNICEF.

Media contacts

Amanda Panarini
Communication for Emergency Officer
UNICEF Brazil
Tel: (95) 98117 8628

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.

Help UNICEF protect and support children and families. Donate now.