ADRA focuses on relief distribution in Venezuela

BARQUISIMETO, VENEZUELA - As the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues its rescue and relief efforts following the recent flooding and mudslides in Venezuela, the humanitarian organization is shifting its efforts primarily towards distribution, with the support of the Fund of Social Development (FSD) and the Venezuelan Central Conference.
According to ADRA Venezuela country director, Rodolfo Escobar, ADRA was focusing on the storage and distribution of bought or donated materials. After meeting with the FSD on Monday, retired Army Major Armando Quilotte, on behalf of the Venezuelan presidency, requested ADRA to increase its efforts in distribution, promising to provide the agency with a storage center.

"Many schools, churches and homes were serving as recipient centers, but the owners and members do not have the means to then transport the goods to those in need," explains Escobar. "We were sending out the ADRA transportation team to collect the materials from the recipient centers, to then organize the materials and transport them to people in need. With the FSD providing the storage center, ADRA can focus its efforts on quickly distributing needed materials to those who have lost everything."

Gui-May, a specialized rescue team, and other volunteers are assisting ADRA in their relief efforts. The volunteers are divided into eight groups and will be assisting ADRA in distribution, transportation, evaluation, and storage. The administration of the Venezuelan Central Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church ceased its regular operations and is also now focusing nearly all of its support on ADRA's activities, according to Escobar. The groups will be governed by ADRA Venezuela staff and through the direction of the FSD.

Today, ADRA received a donation of more than 3,600 loaves of bread from the Venezuelan Adventist University (IUNAV) to be distributed to the survivors. ADRA expects another shipment from the university of more than 300 boxes of oranges in the next few days. ADRA is also expecting a shipment of donated supplies on Monday, December 27, which the volunteers will organize and deliver as a special Christmas package.

To date, ADRA delivered through its reception centers more than 8,200 pounds (3,700 kilograms) of food; more than 3,800 gallons (14,700 liters) of water; more than 40,300 pounds (18,350 kilograms) of clothing; 293 boxes of medical supplies, and 586 bags of personal hygiene items.

"We used 12 vehicles belonging primarily to volunteers to deliver the much needed items," says Escobar. "We also received the outstanding support of professors Euro Betancourt and Oscar González from IUNAV, and retired military personnel. Every person went fully loaded with food, clothes, medicine and a desire to provide for the people."