EMERGENCY funding to support refugees fleeing from Venezuela has been announced by the Scottish Government.

International Development Minister Ben Macpherson has donated £220,000 from the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to charities providing aid for those escaping the crisis-hit country. The South American nation has suffered economic collapse and inflation exceeding one million percent, leaving an estimated 3.7m people malnourished.

Violent clashes have been erupting over opposition to socialist president Nicolas Maduro, with internationally-supported Juan Guaido declaring himself interim president.

Maduro partially closed the country’s borders last weekend to prevent aid trucks entering, triggering further violent scenes.

More than three million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past three years, mostly to neighbouring Columbia where the charities being supported by the Scottish Government are working in refugee settlements.

The £220,000 will be channelled through two Christian aid agencies, Tearfund and Sciaf, to provide vital food, shelter and health supplies.

Macpherson said: “Scotland is a good global citizen and our Humanitarian Emergency Fund provides immediate and effective assistance where it is needed most, to reduce the threat to life and wellbeing caused by disasters, disease or conflict.”

The project will provide humanitarian aid to four settlements near Baranquilla, distributing food vouchers to 500 Venezuelan families.