ACT Alert Venezuela 1/2000 - Torrential Rains hit Northern Venezuela
A state of emergency has been declared in Venezuela, after days of incessant, heavy rains that have left at least three people dead and 2,400 homeless. The capital city of Caracas, along with Vargas and eight other states on the northern coast and to the west were declared to be in a state of emergency. The rains have raised fears of a recurrence of last year's massive floods and mudslides that killed at least 15,000 people, left tens of thousands homeless and wiped out entire towns in the northern coastal state of Vargas.
Rivers swelled, streets became streams and mudslides buried hundreds of shanty homes this week as rains poured down on the northern coast and west of the country. Two people died after mudslides buried their homes and one man drowned after he was swept away by an overflowing river. Thousands abandoned their homes in Vargas, and authorities are worried about finding shelter as the number of homeless grows (thousands of Venezuelans who lost their homes in the floods last December are still living in shelters). The government is preparing army barracks to receive some of those rendered homeless. The emergency has forced the President of Venezuela to cancel a five-day tour of Central America that was to begin Wednesday.
The director of the Civil Defense reports that some 6,000 people throughout the country have been evacuated as a precaution. Meteorologists report that the rains could continue for four more days however, at present the weather patterns do not resemble those that preceded last year's disaster.
ACT members in Venezuela are responding to the emergency situation and the ACT CO will assist with a contribution from the Rapid Response Funds. Depending on the development of the situation an appeal might be forthcoming.
Thank you for your attention.
ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org
ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.
The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.