Venezuela Floods Fact Sheet #6

Overview of Current Situation

The Government of Venezuela (GOV) reported a possible death toll of up to 30,000; up to 400,000 people homeless, and 140,000 internally displaced. =B7 USAID/DART Information Officer reported that people are beginning to move out of temporary shelters to the homes of family and friends, making it difficult to quantify the number affected. In an effort to control the
movement of displaced populations in Caracas, the GOV is strictly enforcing regulations that require family members claim relatives at the shelters.

USAID/DART Information Officer also noted that the shelters in the Caracas area will be closing in the beginning of January.

The Venezuelan Civil Defense provided the following estimates from recent assessments:

  • Federal District of Caracas: 15,324 affected, 95 dead, 3,150 homes affected, and 1,930 homes destroyed. Water and sewage lines are also affected. It was suggested that affected areas be completely destroyed to avoid new squatter settlements.
  • Vargas: 215,000 affected, 190 dead, 200 homes affected, and 21,000 homes destroyed. Water and energy systems were also affected, including three breaks in the Maya-Oicare aqueduct. Two of these breaks have been repaired. Electric plants in Salinas, Macuto, Caraballeda, and Naiguata are inoperative.
  • Falcon: 5,500 affected, 1,200 homes affected, and 114 homes destroyed. Water and drainage systems and the Japira Dam were also affected. The irrigation system in Chchiriviche was destroyed.
  • Yaracuy: 815 affected and 120 homes destroyed. Water systems and bridges were also affected.
  • Miranda: 44,262 affected, 11 dead, 8,690 homes affected, and 3,220 homes destroyed as a result of river flooding.
  • Nueva Esparta: 120 affected, 19 homes affected, and 5 homes destroyed. Damage was a result of unregulated housing construction-----=BE90% of which can be repaired.
  • Anzoategui: 50,800 affected, 2 dead, 9,600 homes affected, and an unknown number of homes destroyed. Affected water systems caused damage to electrical systems, which are now being repaired.

USG Response


The USAID/ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) conducted shelter assessments in Caracas on December 24 and determined that all shelters were currently organized and well supplied with food, water, beds, and blankets.

The USAID/ DART has continued to focus on civil-military coordination through the Emergency Operations Center during the transition from emergency to reconstruction. Other coordination activities include the design of a food distribution program with the American Red Cross, transport of vehicles procured in Miami for emergency operations, and requests for JTF transport of ARC delegates to visit areas with large concentrations of IDPs.

Three USAID/OFDA-funded surface water purification units and two technicians arrived in Caracas on December 26. The units are operating in Macuto, l20 miles east of Caracas. Contaminated water from an existing reservoir is being purified and piped via a functional distribution system. The units are providing 450,000 gallons of purified drinking water per day=BEmeeting the needs of 80,000-100,000 people.

Department of Defense (DoD)

On December 24, 1999, President Clinton authorized the DoD to draw down $20 million to assist relief operations in Venezuela. =B7 The DoD continues to assist in the evacuation of injured and displaced people, providing personnel, helicopters, C-130s, and relief supplies, including medicines and Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPUs).

International Response

As reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), contributions by donor organizations total over $10 million to date.

Local Response

The Venezuelan Civil Defense and the Venezuelan Red Cross are completing a census of shelters. Information regarding shelters and victims is available online at

GOV military and civil defense personnel are transitioning from relief operations to rehabilitation activities.

Public Donations Information

USAID Hotline: 1-800-872-4373

In the interest of effective coordination of public response, USAID encourages the public to contact directly those private voluntary organizations (PVOs) currently working in the region in order to provide monetary donations or call the USAID hotline at 1-800-872-4373 between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. A list of the PVOs may be obtained from the USAID
web site at The list is composed of PVOs that are registered with USAID and/or listed by InterAction, a coalition of voluntary humanitarian and development organizations that work overseas; InterAction can be contacted at 1-202-667-8227 x106, or via the Internet at Those interested in providing specific technical
relief services or commodities should contact Volunteers in Technical Assistance's (VITA) Disaster Information Center for information and guidelines at 703-276-1914.

USAID will not deviate from standard Denton Program procedures for transporting privately-donated relief supplies. USAID will prioritize delivery of essential relief commodities. For more information on the Denton Program, please refer to the USAID website at

For additional information, please access the Natural Disasters section of ReliefWeb at


Two weeks of unrelenting rain led to flash flooding in northern Venezuela and on December 16, the Government of Venezuela (GOV) declared a State of Emergency for seven states (Zulia, Falcon, Yaracuy, Nueva Esparta, Carabobo, Vargas, and Miranda) and the Federal District of Caracas. The states of Miranda and Vargas were particularly hard hit.
=B7 On December 16, 1999, the U.S. Ambassador to Venezeula declared a disaster for flooding. USAID/OFDA responded by providing an initial $25,000 to the U.S. Embassy to be used by the Venezuelan Red Cross and Catholic-Episcopal Conference for local purchase of relief supplies, construction material, and food. USAID/OFDA has provided an additional
$350,000 in funding to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to support food relief efforts.

USAID/OFDA dispatched a DART on December 20 to help coordinate response activities and to perform needs assessments. USAID/OFDA provided funding for the purchase and transport of relief supplies and $200,000 in response
to a PAHO appeal.

Total U.S. Government Funding to Date

USAID/OFDA Disaster Assistance Authority to Embassy
December 16, 1999
USAID/OFDA Local purchase of relief supplies (medical) through Embassy
December 20, 1999
December 20, 1999
USAID/OFDA Purchase and transport of plastic sheeting, water containers, blankets, water bladders, and medical kits via two airlifts
December 21, 1999
USAID/OFDA Purchase and transport of plastic sheeting, water containers, blankets, water bladders, and medical kits.
December 22, 1999
December 22, 1999
USAID/OFDA Transport and technical support for Surface Water Purification Systems
December 26, 1999

Total USAID funding to date: $1,249,865
Total DoD funding to date*: $2,357,000
Total USG funding to date: $3,606,865

*This level of funding is in addition to the $20 million authorized by President Clinton, which has not yet been obligated