• In February and March, access of women and children to basic services further deteriorated. The border closure with Colombia and Brazil affected access to education and health services. Adolescents were reportedly detained and wounded during demonstrations.
• In March, repeated power outages across the entire country limited access to safe water and increased the risk of water-borne diseases. Health centers without generators operated at very low capacity. Schooling was disrupted during blackout periods.
• The UN System is currently working on the development of an interagency response plan which is expected to be finalized by mid-May 2019.
UNICEF’s targets and funding requirements are expected to increase significantly in the coming months.
• UNICEF accelerated its response with additional resources and through new partnerships. Midwifery Kits were delivered by UNICEF to assist 3,243 deliveries in five hospitals. More than 25,700 people gained access to safe drinking water and hygiene supplies. Over 32,500 school children received educational and recreational materials.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Inside Venezuela: *
3.2 million # of children in need of assistance (Internal UN estimate)
7 million # of people in need of assistance (Internal UN estimate) * the UN Country Team is working through the sectors to finalize the estimates in preparation for the interagency response plan.
3.4 million # of refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide (Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform, Feb. 2019)
UNICEF Response Financial Requirement 2018-2019 US$ 32 million
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In February and March, multiple events resulted in reduced access to basic services for women and children. In February, the border closure between Venezuela and the neighbouring countries of Colombia and Brazil affected access to education and health services for border populations using cross-national facilities. For several days, Venezuelan children registered in Colombian schools could not access classes or had to use illegal crossings (trochas). Schools in Táchira state remained closed for several days.
The border with Colombia was later reopened only to allow passage for school children, elderly and people with severe health conditions seeking healthcare in Colombia. As the border in Santa Elena de Uairén (Bolivar state) remains closed, children are still not able to cross to attend school in Brazil.
In March, multiple power outages affected the entire country and then repeatedly extensive areas of the country. Lack of electricity led to reduced access to social services such as safe water, severely increasing the risk of water-borne diseases, and disruption of schooling for days. The ability of health centres without a functioning generator to provide services was significantly affected during blackout periods. Disruption in banking and commerce due to power cuts severely hindered access to purchasing food and any other goods and services.
In terms of UNICEF’s programmatic reach, the power outages limited the operational capacity of partners and the information flow.
The socio-political and economic situation and recently the blackouts have affected school attendance and increased the risk of school dropout. Prior to February 2019, 17 per cent of people living in poverty had no access to potable water or received it only every 15 days, both in rural and urban areas (2018 ENCOVI data). With the blackout, some areas are reporting being without water for a month. Many services with regards to sanitation, including solid waste management, have been affected.
In terms of nutrition, data on the situation of vulnerable groupsisscarce and outdated. Latest official statistics (INN, 2014) indicated a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence of 4.9%, and 9.9% stunting among children under 5 years. The ENCOVI, a nation-wide survey on living conditions, reported in 2017 a GAM of 4.3% and a stunting prevalence of 22% in the same age group. The 2018 results are expected to be released soon. On the other hand, Caritas’ nutrition surveillance system based on 46 most deprived parishes in 7 states, recently reported a proportion of 7.3% acutely malnourished children among those screened (CARITAS, Nov 2018).