‘Everyone needs to do more’ to help suffering Venezuelans, says UN Emergency Relief Coordinator

OCHA/Gema Cortes Mark Lowcock (right), Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, pays a visit to a hospital that serves one million people in a Caracas neighborhood in Venezuela.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

“Ordinary women, men and children face overwhelming challenges” just to survive in Venezuela today, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said on Wednesday in the capital, Caracas.

“Millions cannot afford the bare minimum of food, water, and health care”, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs continued, adding that “the situation continues to deteriorate”.

Most Venezuelans have been affected by a years-long political and economic crisis in what was formerly Latin America’s wealthiest nation, leading to a major shrinking of the economy, fueled by hyperinflation.

Around 4.5 million have left the country, the vast majority to other nations in the region, marking the largest exodus in South American history, according to UN figures: “Too many people are risking perilous journeys every day, facing sexual exploitation, trafficking and abuse”, said Mr. Lowcock.

“I have seen myself how the health system is on the verge of collapse with many hospitals lacking the most basic water and electricity infrastructure…Hospital patients, many of whom are already critically ill, are at high risk of losing their lives from new infections they are acquiring while they are in hospital, because basic cleaning and disinfection cannot be done”.

And a lack of medicines and medical care workers only exacerbates the situation, added the UN relief chief.

“Preventable diseases, including malaria and diphtheria are back with a vengeance”, he said, citing people with chronic health conditions, pregnant and nursing women, infants and those living with disabilities as being “among the most vulnerable”.

Having visited Jose Gregorio Hernandez hospital, the UN official learned that medicines are scarce; power outages mean that only one-fifth of the hospital has electricity; and water runs only two days a week, often through rusty and broken pipes oozing a “filthy stench that lingers throughout”.

Over the last year, UN-supported aid programmes have made a difference by:

  • Helping to vaccinate 8.5 million children against measles.
  • Supporting some 975,000 people with medicines in 109 health facilities.
  • Distributing food and provided agricultural support to 50,000 people.
  • Ensuring that 350,000 people have access to safe water.
  • Providing education support to over 160,000 students.
  • Providing nutritional support to over 100,000 children and pregnant and nursing mothers.
  • Supplying 35,000 people with information and support to access protection services.

“Some hospital workers, I was told, spend more than their monthly salary just getting to work”, he asserted.
Aid assistance

During meetings with senior Government officials and members of the National Assembly, he observed that despite the political divisions, there was “a common will to address the humanitarian situation”, with both endorsing the Humanitarian Response Plan developed this year by the UN and partners to address the most dire needs of Venezuelans.

Underscoring that “only a political solution can end the suffering”, Mr. Lowcock said that in the meantime, the UN “will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable in accordance with our principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality”.

“I have received firm commitments that the implementation of the plan will be supported, to the benefit of vulnerable Venezuelans across the country”, he affirmed. “All parties must respect our principled humanitarian approach and not manipulate the needs-based assistance”.

Stressing that “human suffering is not a political weapon”, he said continued monitoring of assistance delivery would safeguard its transparency “in accordance with independent assessments”.

Funding shortfall

Mr. Lowcock thanked those who have contributed financial resources for UN-supported humanitarian activities, noting that more than $155 million has been received this year. But he said the $223 million Humanitarian Response Plan “remains under-resourced and the biggest constraint to delivering humanitarian assistance remains funding”.

“Everyone needs to do more”, he maintained, pointing out that next month provisional plans for the UN-supported humanitarian response in Venezuela next year is due to be published. “Substantially more financial resources will be needed, and we will seek additional funding from donors”.

“We will need to find a way to unlock Venezuelan resources to contribute more to humanitarian action” and “place a greater priority on reducing the immediate suffering of the people of this country”, he concluded.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus: European roadmap shows path towards common lifting of containment measures

MasterCard @ MWC14: Innovation in times of regulatory uncertainty

Ending the era of dirty textiles

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

A reality check on inclusive innovation

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

How a trade war would impact global growth

This Japanese experiment shows how easily coronavirus can spread – and what you can do about it

UNESCO lists wrestling, reggae and raiho-shin rituals as global treasures to be preserved

Eurozone’s sovereign debt not a problem anymore?

Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

Why your next work meeting should be a ‘walk-and-talk’

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “You just don’t know if the oil price will be 20$ or 100$ in the next 2-3 years!” top Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff underscores from Davos

Mobile health technology: Advances, Facilitations and Promotion of Autonomy

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for safer European Industries and Consumers against cyberthreats”, by MEP Niebler

Why collective action is the key to saving our forests

Commission’s Youth Initiative fails first hurdle by not sufficiently consulting young people

With potential to boost profits by up to 20 per cent, a woman’s place is at work, says UN labour agency

Environmental liability rules need revamping

Lack of involvement, or lack of opportunities?

A roadmap for destination management in the digital economy

ECB: Euro area should smooth out the consumption and income shocks of its members

Coronavirus Global Response: the Commission’s contribution to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

Why protesters disrupted London Fashion Week

‘Think beyond farm jobs’ to reach sustainable development, UN agriculture chief advises African youth

Top officials say UN will support Bahamas’ rescue, relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic

From underestimation to valorization: how mobile technology is transforming global health

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

MWC 2016 LIVE: Verizon boasts momentum for IoT platform

“At the Environment Assembly citizens expect clean, not hot air”, the Head of UN Environment in Europe underscores in a Sting Exclusive

Mobile Technology Saving Lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

Stop the waste: UN food agencies call for action to reduce global hunger

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

Will the end of QE come along with ECB’s inflation target?

Permafrost is thawing so fast it’s gouging holes in the Arctic

Brexit mission impossible: Theresa May was so desperate that had to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary

European Super League: Why more football is an imperfect solution to sport’s business model problem

Texting is a daily source of stress for 1/3 of people – are you one of them?

ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly: strengthening the partnership

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

Nicaragua: MEPs demand an end to repression of political opponents

COVID-19 vaccine development is more global than you might think

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

It ain’t over until Google says it’s over

Azeri natural gas will keep the EU warm soon

From Policy to Reality: Discrepancies in Universal Health Care Systems across the EU

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

UN chief calls for ‘enlightened self-interest’ from world leaders to save ‘the whole planet’ from climate change

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

New York City has a plan to fight fast fashion waste. Here’s how it works

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

How LA plans to be 1.6°C cooler by 2050

VP McGuinness on women’s rights: “Not an option, but a duty”

Security Union: Commission welcomes political agreement on removing terrorist content online

Discussions kick off among MEPs and national MPs on economic governance

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s