Reporting Period: 1 to 31 May 2020
The second United Nations humanitarian cargo flight, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, arrived on 29 May with 12 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, including commodities purchased by UNICEF to support children and their families with safe water and nutrition interventions.
A total of 20 oxygen concentrators and other essential medical materials, including medicines, were provided to 20 priority health facilities (HCF) in nine states. 115 priority HCFs were supported with cleaning and disinfection supplies.
UNICEF, through implementing partners, continued to provide remote psychosocial support to over 16,000 children and their families, identifying and safely referring cases of violence and abuse, including gender-based violence, to relevant programmes and services.
Over 34,000 children benefitted from UNICEF’s school feeding programme, under ad hoc modalities designed to ensure implementation during quarantine, in the states of Miranda, Capital District, Zulia and Bolivar.
Over 48,000 children were supported with distance learning in Bolivar, Zulia,
Apure, Capital District, Miranda, Tachira, La Guaira and Delta Amacuro.
UNICEF reached over nine million people with messages on COVID-19 prevention and access to services.
Situation in Numbers
children in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA August 2019)
COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases (WHO May 2020)
Children affected by school closure due to COVID-19 (UNESCO April 2020)
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF continues its efforts to meet the education, child protection and nutrition needs of children, which have been further exacerbated by COVID-19. The UNICEF 2020 Venezuela Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeals for US$ 153.2 million to address the needs of 2.6 million people, including 1.7 million children and adolescents. As of 31 May 2020, only US$ 11 million has been raised against the HAC to support implementation of child protection, education, health, nutrition, and WASH interventions, as well as to cover operational and logistics support costs related to delivery of this assistance.
Additionally, to address the imminent health risks posed by the COVID19 pandemic UNICEF Venezuela also launched the UNICEF Global COVID-19 HAC appeal for US$ 26.8 million. To date, UNICEF Venezuela has raised only US$ 3 million for the COVID-19 response, primarily to (i) provide health workers and other staff engaged in the response with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE); (ii) provide sentinel hospitals and clinics with medical supplies and equipment, WASH supplies (including soap, hand-sanitizer, chlorine, masks, drinking water dispensers and disinfectant), safe water, and capacity building on hygiene practices; (iii) strengthen Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) programming, by promoting effective COVID-19 prevention measures, such as hand washing, hygiene practices, social distancing and other behavioural changes to curb the transmission of the virus; (iv) combat stigmatization; and (v) provide psychosocial support.
UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received to date. Nevertheless, UNICEF calls upon the international community to provide additional and flexible support to reduce the remaining 68 per cent gap in the HAC appeal and the 88 per cent gap in the COVID-19 appeal. Potential prolonged funding gaps will hinder UNICEF´s capacity to respond to pre-existing and urgent needs emerging from the pandemic, to mitigate the collateral socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, and to ensure continuity of essential services for children, women and vulnerable populations.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
COVID-19 prevention measures including lockdown and social distancing remained in place during the month of May. As declared by the Government, some sectors will resume activities within a ‘protected and under surveillance’ stage of normality starting on 1 June 2020. Of the 1,327 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported by the end of May, 160 are children aged 0-9 years old and 210 are adolescents and young people aged 10-19 years old. As part of the United Nations COVID-19 response in Venezuela, a second cargo flight arrived in country on 29 May 2020 carrying 12 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, including UNICEF-purchased supplies to support children and their families during the pandemic.
During the reporting period, fuel shortages persisted, and continued to cause significant challenges for the general population and humanitarian operators alike. Despite the quarantine, long queues at gas stations were reported in Bolivar, Tachira and Zulia states. By the end of May, the availability of more petrol slightly improved the situation. On 30 May, the Government announced new prices for petrol, under two schemes: (a) a subsidized scheme in local currency (equivalent to $0.025 per litre) and (b) a second scheme based on international prices, for stations managed by private investors, who will be allowed to sell petrol at $0.50 per litre. Weekly refills based on a vehicle´s license plate will be permitted during this first month.
Additionally, during May, water and electricity supply systems reported falling to critical levels, with up to 36-hour interruptions of the power system in the state of Tachira. A similar situation is taking place in Western Zulia, Falcon and Lara states as reported by media, social media, and UNICEF field staff. The lack of power has impacted communications and access to the internet; and the corresponding lack of services have triggered some protests and road blockages in Tachira, Barinas and Apure.
The number of returning Venezuelan migrants continues to increase. According to OCHA Flash Note N. 4, migration inflow has reached 80,000 people, including 45,900 migrants between April and May. Temporary shelters (PASI by their Spanish acronym) managed by local authorities in the states of Tachira, Bolivar, Apure and Zulia, are the primary facilities for hosting retuning migrants, as per COVID-19 prevention protocols. As a result, demand for food, water and sanitation facilities, nutritional supplements and psychosocial support is increasing in those states.