Hundreds of indigenous Warao people from the Orinoco Delta have left Venezuela and are now trying their luck on the gritty streets of Manaus – Brazil's Amazonian metropolis – where they live in derelict buildings and tent camps and are forced to make a living by begging from passing motorists.

Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao child seeks shelter from the rain wrapped in a blanket, under the Ayrton Senna viaduct in the city of Manaus, BrazilRaphael Alves/AFP
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao woman from the Orinoco Delta in eastern Venezuela begs for money from a driver in Manaus, BrazilBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Warao Indians from Venezuela gather in an abandoned building in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images

Many have made the long bus journey from northeastern Venezuela to Manaus, a city of two million people where local authorities are scrambling to help them find shelter, food and medicine. "Everything is gone in Venezuela," said Abel Calderon, a 32-year-old Warao who is acting as spokesman for the impromptu community now living under tarps, tents and other makeshift lodgings around the city, some of them under a highway overpass.

Local authorities have declared a social emergency and called for support from the federal and state governments for what they have called a "humanitarian crisis". Many Venezuelans have been deported after having crossed the border due to concerns about vagrancy and begging, local media reported, while local hospitals and public services have been put under strain.

Calderon says the Warao chose Manaus because it was the closest city in Brazil where they could look for work or assistance from local authorities. So far, city officials have helped with food and medicine while also asking Brazil's federal police force to accelerate documentation that can help the Warao find jobs or formally register with social welfare programmes.

Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao man washes a baby on the side of a road in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Children from the indigenous Warao people from the Orinoco Delta in eastern Venezuela sit in a plastic bucketBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao child eats near a viaduct next to a bus terminal in ManausBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Warao families live under a viaduct next to a bus terminal in Manaus, BrazilBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A nurse gives a flu vaccine to a baby from the indigenous Warao peopleBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao woman bathes her son near a viaduct next to a bus terminal in ManausBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Warao children play near a viaduct next to a bus terminal in ManausBruno Kelly/Reuters
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Women, living in a tent in Manaus, sort through clothesVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Warao families watch TV in a derelict building in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao man and woman settle down to sleep in hammocks in a derelict building in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao boy lies on a piece of cardboard on a floor in the city of ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A doctor examines Warao Indians in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao child is examined by doctors in Manaus, BrazilVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Doctors linked to Catholic Charities NGO examine patients and distribute medicine to Warao Indians in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
A Warao child suffering from a skin disease is seen in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Baby Fernanda Rattia, who died of pneumonia at 10 months, is buried in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Ten-month-old Warao baby Fernanda Rattia, who died of pneumonias, is buried in ManausVictor Moriyama/Getty Images
Warao indigenous Venezuela Manaus Brazil
Orlando Warao observes the city of Manaus from the window of a busVictor Moriyama/Getty Images

The Warao faced hunger and hardship in their villages along Venezuela's Caribbean coast. They have traditionally used their fishing skills to survive – for nourishment, for barter or by selling the fish for cash. But Venezuela's economic and political instability mean people can't afford to buy their fish, and there is nothing in the shops to barter them against.

Calderon said he wants to stay in Brazil, saddened by the hardship and increasingly stark reality in Venezuela, where the economic woes and mounting unrest in recent weeks has led to dozens of deaths in political protests. "It's sad in Venezuela," he says. "There everything is finished. Here we could work and stay."