Humanitarian Roraima Mission in Pacaraima – Overcrowding in the House of Passing

February 1 to 4, Thursday to Sunday

Feb 1, Thursday

This day was marked by the distribution of foods to the families registered in the census of the shelter. Before the distribution, Father Jesus visited the place, invited by the Aidamos (Indigenous leaders), to talk about the situation of the House of Passing (place where some Indigenous people receive shelter), above all concerning the people who will leave after the deadline of permanence.

Everyone listened attentively to the explanation of the priest about the general conditions of the House of Passing: sewage system, lack of space to hang the hammocks, equal division of the foods, security, internal regulations, norms of the shelter and deadline for permanence. There were no comments.

The newly-arrived 17 families, not registered, also received food, but in a smaller amount. After the distribution, there were health services and small bandages.

The artisan work and of organization and distribution of the donations continues with a group of women that prepares bags of clothes and other items for the pregnant women. Some learn to make crochet, to make their own quilts, which protect them from the cold of the night.

Informal drawing and painting activities have been made with the children. The technical team of the Roraima Labor and Social Welfare Secretary (Setrabes) has been accompanying specially the teenagers and acting in the resolution of conflicts that occur every day in different moments.

Luis, a missionary of Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation, declares that the “continuous migratory flux and its consequences in the short and long run still have us very preoccupied. Although everyone is aware that the capacity of lodging of the House is full, people continue to arrive, and there is no one who impedes them from arriving”.

Feb 2, Friday

Today, as often happens, families arrived in precarious conditions. At first they stayed at the entrance gate, and, after a few hours, they entered and settled without anyone being able to prevent it.

Arrival of a non-Indigenous family group that had a passing in the shelter of the capital Boa Vista. This family has a woman with psychiatric problems. As the members are not Warao, they were forwarded again to the capital, but this time to the shelter of the institution Fraternity without Borders (Fraternidade Sem Fronteiras). The administrator of the House of Passing and a representative of the social service of the City Hall were responsible for transporting them.

Medical assistance of 16 people by the team of the health center of the town.

About the number of people: according to the last census, the House of Passing has 454 people, of whom 65 are not registered, which is contrary to determination of the administration and of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The total capacity is 200 people, therefore there is an excess of 254 people, and so far there has not been the intervention of any official institution concerning this issue.

Feb 3, Saturday

When the team of missionaries arrived in the shelter, there was a multitude of Indigenous people watching a fight due to the theft of a radio. The multitude dissolved after the warning by the group that it was a police case and that those involved should go to the Police Station, to make a police report. Such conflicts are frequent.

Artisan and sewing activities continue, with a group of women and young apprentices.

Health attendance: besides the more acute situations of respiratory problems, flu cases appear, as well as headache, stomachache and dermatological problems.

Concern is perceived among those who must leave the House of Passing shortly due to the absence of perspective and lack of financial conditions for moving. Every day new immigrants arrive and the situation only tends to aggravate.

Feb 4, Sunday

Besides the habitual health procedures, two people were taken to hospital: one with na infection in the left foot and leg, and another with pneumonia. Two missionaries of Fraternidade accompanied these people in the morning and in the afternoon, even taking food, as the hospital is not serving meals to all.

In the House of Passing, the Indigenous Venezuelan families continue to arrive in precarious health conditions and malnourished. Today five families arrived, all of them with old people and young children. There is today a number of 494 people in the House. In the last weekend 40 people arrived.

Concerning sanitary conditions, there is lack of water every day, but the car “Clean cesspool” made the urgent and necessary cleaning.

There is some apprehension and expectation concerning the scheduled departure of some immigrants from the shelter next February 6 and 16, due to the deadline of permanence in the House of Passing. Each case will be analyzed.

Many conflict situations have been taking place. A harmonious solution is always sought, but not always successful, especially in family conflicts and in cases of theft.