UN seeks to aid more than 5 mn Venezuelans with urgent needs

Caracas, Aug 2 (EFE).- The United Nations estimates that 5.2 million Venezuelans have urgent needs and so the international body has developed a $795 million response plan to help them, the organization’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, announced Tuesday.

The official, who on Tuesday wrapped up a three-day visit to Caracas, announced that he had reached an agreement with the Venezuelan government to publish a new response plan for 2022 and 2023 without knowing until now when that roadmap would be made public.

The program, which seeks to provide aid to 700,000 more people than in 2021, is designed to support health services, improve food security and nutrition, strengthen the provision of basis services and education, promote safety and aid human mobility, both for people migrating internally and for those seeking to leave the country.

The plan provides assistance to save lives, create resilience, restore the means of subsistence and to protect the most vulnerable groups in the population from the main risks they face, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an official statement.

Griffiths, OCHA’s top official, held meetings with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, several ministers and other top officials, representatives from the opposition and from local and foreign non-governmental organizations to push forward with the plan that is being implemented in the oil-producing nation.

Significant humanitarian needs continue to exist, and it is more important than ever for the international community to continue showing solidarity with the Venezuelan people, ensuring that the most vulnerable, including women, girls, boys and the elderly, are not left behind, the agency said.

Griffiths, who said he was “encouraged” by the “signs of recovery” the country is showing, reiterated that urgent needs persist in Venezuela and thus he hopes that the current economic growth will result in opportunities and hope for millions there.

Regarding the financing for the aid program, he said that “more must be done” and, along those lines, he issued a call to the Venezuelan government, the political opposition and the international community to work together to use Venezuela’s resources that have been frozen abroad for the benefit of the most vulnerable in society and for the country’s development.

Opposition figure Miguel Pizarro hailed Griffiths’ visit on the social networks, saying that the mission “could increase the visibility of the country’s complicated humanitarian emergency.”

“The news of the progress in the publication of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022-2023 allows us to help millions of Venezuelans who are in need today,” the former lawmaker said on Twitter.

The government, meanwhile, has revealed no details about its meetings with Griffiths and has limited itself to making several posts on the social networks hailing the official’s presence and saying that they had discussed developing assorted “protective measures” for the most vulnerable citizens.

Meanwhile, some of the NGOs that participated in the meetings with the OCHA chief told EFE that they took advantage of those occasions to discuss the need to keep the humanitarian channel open, to take into account the different requirements of the population and to reiterate the neutrality of their work with an eye toward avoiding political diatribes targeting them.

Griffiths agreed with the Venezuelan government to “work together” to improve the access of NGOs and the UN to the areas where the needs are greatest, and he said that the UN is “ready to support” the country in the humanitarian area and in its attempt to pull itself out of its economic crisis.

Venezuela is not only a unique opportunity to find solutions to tackle its own challenges but also, within the context of global energy and amid the crisis caused by rising food prices, the country has the potential to contribute to global solutions that can affect the well-being of the most vulnerable, he added.

Before departing Venezuela, the OCHA official on Tuesday visited the country’s main maternity hospital, in Caracas, where he said he heard firsthand how the humanitarian aid had helped strengthen healthcare services and reduce mortality.

Four kilometers (2.5 miles) from that site, about 1,000 retirees took to the streets to demand their delayed pension payments and to denounce the conditions of extreme poverty in which they are trying “to survive.”

“I ask the government: What’s going on? Don’t you see how we Venezuelans are living? Not only the teachers, but also the healthcare workers, the public employees, that their salaries are nowhere enough. I’ve seen many families, many professionals, who are dying of hunger,” Nellys Parra, a retired teacher, told EFE.

EFE hp/gcs/laa/bp

Related Articles

Back to top button