A special fund has been set up by Partners
of the Americas to help the people of Venezuela to recover from the worst
natural disaster in more than 50 years. For the last two weeks the heaviest
rainfall in one hundred years has been falling on Caracas and the northern
states, where more than 75% of the country's population lives.
The Embassy of Venezuela in Washington, D.C. says that "these torrential rains have resulted in mud slides and serious flooding. Entire villages have been swept away. Many key roads and highways throughout Caracas and the affected areas are impassable making rescue efforts and delivery of medical aid very difficult. Basic services such as electricity and water have been interrupted in many densely populated areas. To date there is an estimate of more than 150,000 homeless, countless wounded and more than 7,000 unaccounted persons, most of them presumed dead. Our country is experiencing one of its most difficult hours: domestic resources are insufficient to face this calamity. We need the help and the support of the international community to keep the damage from becoming even greater."
"We're very concerned about the people of Caracas and surrounding areas," says Norman Brown, president of Partners of the Americas. "They will need a great deal of assistance as they work to rebuild their communities after this disaster."
"The greatest need now is for cash donations for local purchases of food, medical supplies, equipment and materials to shelter families displaced by this disaster," says Brown. "Unfortunately, we're not in a position to accept or transport clothing or food donations."
Partners of the Americas, the largest private voluntary organization working to promote economic and social development in the Western Hemisphere, has had ongoing programs in Venezuela in partnership with the State of Tennessee for 35 years. Thousands of United States and Venezuelan volunteers have participated in projects to improve emergency response, upgrade medical services and enhance agricultural production.
Partners has provided aid in a number of disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean, including reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Mitch struck Central America last fall. In Colombia, Partners provided assistance after the 1985 Nevado del Ruiz volcanic eruption destroyed the town of Armero and killed 23,000 people and, more recently in February of 1999, in the Armenia earthquake.
Founded in 1964 as the "people-to-people" component of President John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress, Partners of the Americas has grown to 60 partnerships linking 45 states and the District of Columbia with 31 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Venezuela-Tennessee Partnership will be coordinating local relief efforts.
Individuals or organizations wishing to make a contribution should write checks payable to Partners of the Americas and mail to: Partners, Venezuela Relief Fund, 1424 K Street NW #700, Washington, DC 20005.
Questions? Contact:Donna Gebicke (202) 637-6225, E-Mail: DG@partners.poa.com
Copyright © 1999 Partners of the Americas, Inc.