UN pledges relief assistance to flood-stricken areas of Venezuela

News and Press Release
Originally published
Top United Nations officials today reacted with deep concern to the reports of the loss of life and devastation caused by the floods in Venezuela and stressed the importance of international assistance in coping with the calamity.
"On behalf of the General Assembly, I extend deepest sympathy and condolences to the Government and the people of Venezuela for the tragic loss of life and extensive material damage that have resulted from the floods and mudslides," Assembly President Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab of Namibia said in a statement released at UN headquarters in New York.

Dr. Gurirab urged the international community to show solidarity and respond "promptly and generously to any request from that great nation in the face of this devastation."

For his part, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that the UN would continue to assist in the relief and rehabilitation of the affected areas. In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan extended his condolences to the Venezuelan people and Government also thanked all Governments and private individuals who were assisting the country in the wake of the disaster.

Meanwhile, the UN was taking steps to improve coordination of international relief efforts, a UN spokesman said today. To assist with the overall coordination of the response provided by the UN system and donor governments, Ecuador-based Regional Disaster Response Adviser for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) traveled to Venezuela on Monday to join the UN's Resident Coordinator in the country, the spokesman said.

The local UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team in Venezuela has been operational since the onset of the disaster.