Venezuela: Humanitarian Response, Situation Report No. 02 | as of July 2019
This Situation Report is produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group. It primarily focuses on the cluster response from May 2019 and includes cumulative response data since 2018.
The United Nations continues to expand the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and to date has, among other achievements, vaccinated over 8.5 million children against measles; imported and distributed almost 350 tons of medicine and medical supplies to 41 hospitals and 23 health centers in 18 states; administered close to 85,000 preventative and curative treatments for acute malnutrition; and provided safe drinking water to over 185,000 people.
The Humanitarian Coordinator designation in May 2019 has enabled the establishment of the Humanitarian Country Team (replacing the Cooperation and Assistance Coordination Team - ECCA, per its acronym in Spanish) and the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group. A Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator has also been named. Together, these mechanisms are leading the coordination of principled humanitarian action across Venezuela.
Eight clusters have been formally activated, including Food Security and Livelihoods; Health; Nutrition; Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene; Protection (including the Areas of Responsibility of Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence); Shelter, Energy and Non-Food Items (NFIs); Education; and Logistics. Seven clusters are fully operational, with the Logistics Cluster in the process of being set up.
The UN and its partners launched an appeal to support the Venezuela Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to provide assistance to 2.6 million people and requires US$223 million until the end of the year.
A total of 63 operational partners (based on reporting to the 3W - Who does What Where – tool), including UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), are scaling up their capacity and presence. These includes the 10 states prioritized for the humanitarian response.
Funding to maintain and expand the response is urgently needed, with UN agencies and NGOs reporting a limited amount of available resources.
Venezuela’s economy contracted 48 per cent between 2013 and 2018 according to recent data released by the Central Bank of Venezuela. Non-oil imports are estimated to have fallen 86 per cent during that same period, while oil exports decreased from $85 billion in 2013 to $30 billion in 2018.
The National Consumer Price Index indicated that cumulative inflation rates for food and other basic products rose to over 1,000 per cent between December 2018 and April 2019. Hyperinflation has significantly reduced people’s purchasing power and curtailed access to basic goods. Whilst food may be available in markets, many people, particularly the most vulnerable, cannot afford to purchase it due to high prices.
A reduction in the level of fuel imports and insufficient local production has led to fuel shortages hampering access to essential services and impacting peoples’ livelihoods. This has led to the intermittent suspension of some humanitarian activities and programmes, with partners often struggling to access enough fuel to ensure the continuity of their operations.
On 22 July, a nationwide blackout compounded the challenges to essential service delivery, although contingencies were in place to minimize the humanitarian impact, especially in health centres. Electricity and water provision are still limited in many states, especially outside of the Capital District, with rationing impacting the functioning of health and education facilities.
The border with Colombia, which had been closed since February 2019, was reopened on 7 June, allowing the population to cross. Many of these movements are return trips, allowing people to access basic goods and services. The closure of borders forces people to use informal crossings, increasing their vulnerability and exposing them to protection risks.