The Peruvian Bishops' Conference called on the people of the country to act with Christian solidarity toward Venezuelan migrants fleeing hardship in their homeland.

In a statement issued March 9, the Peruvian bishops meeting in a plenary assembly expressed their “fraternity with the Venezuelan people” and recalled that “in decades past thousands of our compatriots had to emigrate to Venezuela.”

“Current circumstances require us to act with Christian solidarity toward our brothers from that country, who for various reasons have been forced to leave their homeland and are with us today. May Peru be a second home for them where they feel very welcome and safe,” the bishops stated.

Venezuela is in the midst of an acute political and economic crisis under President Nicolas Maduro, resulting in severe shortages of food and medicine, which is increasing emigration.

The Peruvian department that oversees immigration has estimated that there are currently 115,000 Venezuelans in the country, of which 31,000 have a temporary work permit which allows them to work and study for one year.

Peru is increasing the number of permits it issues to accommodate for the surge in newcomers.

In a statement released March 8, the immigration department head, Eduardo Sevilla, said that some 900 Venezuelans are arriving in Peru every day.

“But not all stay in the country,” he said. “Many of them have tourist visas and can stay for up to six months.”

Other countries, including Colombia, have also seen an increase in Venezuelan immigrants in recent months.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.