AmeriCares' Relief Efforts in Venezuela: Flood survivors still need our help

Situation: The powerful floods and mudslides that hit Venezuela's northern coastline in mid-December, killing more than 30,000 people and injuring thousands, continue to wreak havoc on the nation. The flooding destroyed sewage pipes and water treatment plants along hundreds of miles of coastline, causing dangerous levels of sewage pollution. Venezuelan authorities warn that contaminated water supplies pose a serious threat to the coastal population, an estimated 200,000 of which are now homeless. Continued heavy rains have produced further damage and thwarted relief efforts.
Response: AmeriCares recently shipped 200 high-tech, weatherproof tents to Venezuela, providing shelter for up to 1,500 of the nation's flood victims. The tents departed from the port of Miami along with 50 water purification units, capable of producing a total of 60,000 gallons of drinking water every 24 hours. Also included in the AmeriCares shipment were two portable laboratories to test for chemical and biological contaminants in local water sources. The 25,000-pound relief shipment arrived in Venezuela on Wednesday, February 9. AmeriCares relief workers and volunteers on site are currently setting up the tents. AmeriCares is working in collaboration with the Cisneros Foundation, the Venezuelan Ministry of the Environment and the Venezuelan National Emergency Committee to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of families affected by the recent natural disaster.

AmeriCares has delivered roughly 155,000 pounds of medical relief supplies to flood-struck Venezuela thus far. AmeriCares' first relief airlift, which included approximately 40,000 pounds of essential medicines, antibiotics, nutritional supplements and other relief materials arrived in Caracas on December 22, just days after the disaster occurred. The relief supplies were immediately delivered to hospitals throughout the nation. The second shipment arrived December 24 and included an additional 40,000 pounds of medicines, tetanus vaccines and other relief materials. AmeriCares' third airlift, which included 50,000 pounds of additional emergency relief items, arrived December 29.

Credentials: Since its inception in 1982, AmeriCares has delivered nearly $3.7 million worth of relief supplies to Venezuela. AmeriCares is registered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (License #A0275), and we are a licensed drug wholesaler. We are also a licensed DEA Exporter (License #RA0178170). AmeriCares solicits donations of medicines, medical supplies, and other relief materials from manufacturers, and delivers them quickly and reliably to indigenous health and welfare professionals in over 130 countries around the world. Financial contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations are used to defray the cost of AmeriCares' programs. Since 1982, AmeriCares has maintained an operating overhead of less than 2%. AmeriCares is the world's largest private nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, which provides immediate response to emergency medical needs-- and supports long-term healthcare programs-- for all people around the world, irrespective of race, creed or political persuasion.

Please help us to continue our relief efforts by sending your cash donations, marked Venezuela Flood Relief, to AmeriCares, 161 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840 or by calling AmeriCares at 1.800.486.HELP.

Last Updated: February 15, 2000