Coronavirus Global Response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge supports Venezuela

Credit: Unsplash

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


As part of the EU’s global coronavirus response, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation consisting of two flights to Venezuela has concluded after delivering a total of 82.5 tonnes of life-saving material to supply humanitarian partners in the field. The first flight departed on 19 August from Madrid, Spain to Caracas, Venezuela, while the second flight followed on 21 August.

These EU-funded flights are part of the ongoing Humanitarian Air Bridge operations to critical areas of the world.

“The EU continues to stand by the people in need in Venezuela, especially in the current worldwide health crisis. Tackling the pandemic globally is in the interest of all. The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights deliver medical equipment and other essential supplies to protect healthcare and frontline humanitarian aid workers. To ensure aid continues to reach those most in need, it is imperative that humanitarian workers have full and safe access to do their essential job of saving lives,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management. 

In a ´Team Europe´ effort, the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Venezuela has been operated jointly by the EU, Spain and Portugal and coordinated with the competent Venezuelan authorities. The flights are entirely funded by the EU, whereas the cargo is made available by the humanitarian organisations using the flight, coordinated by the Réseau Logistique Humanitaire – a European humanitarian organisations’ network.

The 82.5 tonnes of cargo consist mostly of life-saving medical equipment such as personal protection gear, medicines, as well as water purification equipment and family hygiene kits. The equipment will be used in health facilities and some items will also be directly distributed to the most affected families. More than 500.000 Venezuelans will benefit from this aid, including children, women, and health professionals.

Background

Before the Coronavirus pandemic reached Venezuela in March 2020, the country was already suffering the humanitarian impact of the ongoing political, economic and social crisis. In 2018, inflation in Venezuela exceeded one million percent. This multifaceted crisis has affected the country’s healthcare system and caused a lack of basic medication as well as the migration of around one third of its professional medical staff. The result is a growing number of people lacking regular health services and treatment for chronic illnesses and emergency medical care. More than five million Venezuelans (about 10 percent of the population) have left the country since 2015.

EU humanitarian aid in Venezuela

Since 2018, the European Union has allocated EUR 154 million in emergency humanitarian aid, to assist Venezuelans in need inside the country, and those hosted in neighbouring countries.

The aid focuses on addressing the most pressing needs of the affected population, targeting the most vulnerable groups such as, children under five years of age, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, school children and indigenous groups.

Projects focus on delivering vital healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, education in emergencies, protection of the most vulnerable population groups, and nutritional and food support. Assistance is also provided to support humanitarian coordination and to improve local capacities for emergency response.

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