Floods in Venezuela Situation Report 29 Dec 1999

This report complements the one from yesterday.

Current Situation

In the area of environmental health, emphasis continues to be placed on solving the affected population’s need for clean safe water.

PAHO Actions

  • Participation in meeting with the CAFD to review terms of the Project of Impact Assessment.
  • Collaboration with Doctors Without Borders, OXFAM and other NGOs to develop collaborative areas of support.
  • Participation in multi-institutional meeting in the port terminal of La Guaira, at which the situation of chemical contamination was addressed and solutions proposed.
  • Meetings with a team sent by the US Embassy to facilitate cooperation concerning potential problems of chemical contamination of the port terminal of the Guaira.
  • Preparation, with national counterparts, of two health and environment projects.
  • Management with Sanitary Engineering for the definition of needs for installation of a crisis room of health and environment is pending the final review of needs and the shipment of official request to PAHO/WHO.
  • Determination of the requirements for the state of Vargas Water and Sanitation system (Maiquetía).
  • Provided to Ministry of Health and HIDROVEN 34 chlorine testing kits.


Current Situation

The SUMA system is operational at the following locations.

1. SEFAR (Pharmacy Service of the Ministry of Health and Social Development)
a) National and international donations have been registered.

b) Stocks on hand prior to the disaster are being registered.

c) The strategy for determining the needs for medicines and the logistics of distribution was discussed in the meeting with the management of SEFAR.

2. Drugs Warehouse of the Maiquetía Airport
a) Part of the international donations have been registered and transferred to the SEFAR warehouse.

b) The transfer from the airport warehouse to SEFAR is currently being carried out by the Armed Forces.

3. Drug warehouse of the Venezuelan Red Cross
SUMA has been installed and the classification process is in its initial phase.
4. Pharmacy Services of Military Health Department.
a) SUMA was installed in the Pharmacy Services of Military Health and personnel were trained in the use of the system.

b) The arrival of drugs is anticipated.

5. Army Logistical Center (Fuerte Tiuna)
A manual list of donations was prepared and will be included in the SUMA system as soon as database team is available.

PAHO Actions

SUMA is continuing to be installed in all national institutions that have expressed the desire to collect reliable information on incoming relief supplies and thus promote accountability and transparency in all institutions that through the promulgation and informative action of PAHO, in joint action with the FF.AA.NN. and the MSDS, have joined the national effort in the intention of collecting solid information and can be handled by all entities involved.

In the installation process of the SUMA, the need is detected for greater fluidity in drug and supply management.


It will be necessary to contract support personnel for SUMA, to be able not only to meet needs to install the program, but to assist and train users as well.

It will also be necessary to contract of personnel to reinforce the staff already working in the handling and classification of drugs.


Current Situation

Preliminary tallies in some states yield the following information.

Preliminary damage report in Health Care Facilities



PAHO/WHO was requested to offer technical and financial support, to permit the effective coordination of activities at national, state and district level, in particular those related to epidemiological surveillance and the detection and timely management of cases, especially of vector-borne diseases (leptospirosis, dengue, malaria).

Because of the magnitude of damage and the number of missing and dead, before initiating the rehabilitation and reconstruction of health facilities in Vargas, it is necessary to define if these facilities will be needed in the same location, since it is very probable that many affected sites will not be repopulated and it will be necessary to establish the new facilities closer to where the population has relocated.


Current Situation

Groups of volunteers formed by the Civil Defense have been working to meet the psychological and social needs of the victims:

Psychologists and psychology students are being coordinated the School of Psychology of the Central University of Venezuela and by psychiatrists coordinated by the Clinic El Cedral. The Faculty of Psychology has instituted a "1-800" telephone service, offering counseling 10 hours a day.

The Catholic University Andrés Bello has provided 15 psychologists and 45 students who have been distributed among the affected population: both rescuers and those in shelters.

It is expected that these activities will cease on 3 January when all these professionals return to their habitual work functions.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development, whose responsibility is to provide psychological and social recovery services to the victims, has very few human resources to meet needs in this area.

Actions by PAHO

Support has been provided to the Office of Coordination of Education and Research of the Ministry of Health to prepare a project on Training for Care and Psycho-Social Recovery of the Population Affected by Floods. This project will create a group of facilitators, sensitize authorities and managers on the psycho-social problems of the disaster victims, and provide direct training through workshops for the primary care personnel in clinics and other health facilities who are meeting the health needs of victims in shelters. It will also carry out workshops for the civilian and military support personnel meeting these needs. The workshop on sensitization directed to the managers and authorities and the workshop for group of facilitators will be carried out from 3 to 6 January 2000.

A meeting has been held with representatives of Civil Defense and the Faculty of Psychology of the Central University of Venezuela to prepare a project that will allow the continuation of activities in care and psychological and social recovery. This will specifically target volunteers and institutions that participated in the acute emergency phase and the maintenance of services offered through the "1-800" telephone line.


Technical cooperation with an approximate cost of US$58,000 to train health staff.