Venezuela: Floods Appeal No. 35/99 Situation Report No. 8


Appeal no. 35/99 - Period covered: 18 January - 7 February 2000
The Federation, the Venezuelan Red Cross and Participating National Societies are increasing the scope of emergency relief assistance to flood victims. It includes food, clean water, health care and psychological support. The bad weather is continuing in some areas, causing further damage and adding to logistical difficulties.

The disaster

Weeks of torrential rains in Venezuela at the end of 1999 caused massive landslides and severe flooding in seven northern states. The official death toll is 30,000 but other sources put the figure as high as 50,000. Over 600,000 persons are estimated to have been directly affected and according to the Venezuelan Civil Defence's initial damage assessments at least 64,700 houses have been damaged and over 23,200 destroyed.


  • A state of alert is still in effect in the State of Vargas as rains continue in the mountains. Eight districts are still only accessible by air. The cave-in of one lane of the highway to El Junquito has cut off seven towns. The collapse of the highway between Morón and Coro has isolated the state of Falcón.
  • Twenty four new landslides and floods were recorded during the past week. A growing lagoon has built up above Caracas because of debris blocking the rivers.
  • The authorities have started to demolish condemned homes and shanty houses built in dangerous areas such as ravines and canyons because warmer weather is producing cracks in the mud banks and badly damaged homes are collapsing under their own weight.
  • Severe damage to the agricultural sector was sustained in the States of Miranda, Zulia, Falcón, Mérida, Tachira, Cojedes, Yaracuy and Carabobo. Most petroleum ports remain closed, reducing exports by as much as 25%. Tourism has dropped by 90% since last December with an estimated fourteen billion dollars loss in the services sector in the states of Vargas and Miranda.
  • Several local NGOs are offering free legal counselling to affected families on collecting insurance claims, replacing lost legal documents, and obtaining death certificates, and to the homeless who are squatting unfinished constructions.
  • 63,072 persons are housed in 280 national shelters. In Caracas, 2,400 displaced living in the central stadium (Poliedro) are being offered a house in the interior of the country, but there is some reluctance to move.
  • Five government offices in charge of housing will be fused into one, to carry out new housing projects.


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