An agreement to benefit 2.8 M including children and adolescent was signed between UNICEF and the Venezuelan Ministry of Water to provide technical assistance and cooperation on different water, hygiene and sanitation-related issues. Implementation of the agreement has already started.
With UNICEF’s support, 1,909,937 doses of polio vaccine were administered during the first three weeks of the campaign allowing for a national coverage of 60 per cent.
During June and July, UNICEF and its partners screened 15,396 children under five years old and 952 malnourished children were treated using the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) approach.
UNICEF refurbished cold room and cold chain equipment in Caracas District Capital, as part of the strategy to support and strengthen the Ministry of Health’s vaccine storage capacity. With this intervention, 260,952 children under five will benefit from access to safe vaccines in Caracas, Miranda and Vargas states.
As part of a school feeding program, UNICEF pilot program, provided 58,218 meals during the month of July in 24 schools in Miranda state, benefitting 5,480 children and 627 teachers daily.
To guarantee safe and quality water for patients, UNICEF repaired water pumping systems in two hospitals in Gran Caracas to the benefit of 12,750 people per month and began works in another hospital in Bolivar State which is the main referral hospital for children living in the eastern States of the country.
On 22 July 2019, a 24-hour nation-wide blackout affected communications network and water systems in most States of the country with minimal impact on health system.
On 1 July, in consultation with the IASC, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief announced the activation of humanitarian clusters for Venezuela.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In July, the response capacity of some institutions remained limited hence affecting the provision of some key public social services.
On 22 July 2019, a 24-hour national blackout took place impacted communications network, water system and other basic services in most States of Venezuela. In the State of Bolivar, gasoline shortages have persisted, while in the city of Cabima (Zulia State), the administrative building of the national electric company was set on fire during a protest called to denounce deficiencies in the respect of power-rationing schedule.
As the school year ended, an attendance analysis was provided by the Venezuelan Teachers’ Union indicated that the 2018-2019 school year did not meet the 200-day goal, required by legislation. Overall, the school calendar decreased by 71 days, for a total of 129 days. The key bottlenecks to children school attendance mostly related to energy blackouts and deficiencies in basic services such as water, electricity, food, transport and the absence of teachers. In the State of Zulia, power-rationing measures were implemented forcing schools to be closed for an equivalent of two months. Moreover, teacher’s absenteeism is becoming a paramount issue with some of them having left the country while others not reporting to duty.
In the State of Táchira, alleged armed confrontations on the Colombia side of the international border took place near two schools attended by Venezuelan children and, further extended the following day to the Venezuelan side of the border in proximity of the central area of the town of Ureña. Both international bridges in San Antonio and Ureña were closed for a day and some people were temporarily displaced. A strong presence of Army and National Guard was deployed in the area to restore security.
As the rainy season continued, a new malaria outbreak has been registered in the State of Zulia among the indigenous Yukpa community in Perija, as well as in surrounding areas. During the month of July, over 1,200 cases were reported throughout the State. Furthermore, in Táchira state, 885 cases of dengue were reported by the local authorities during the months of June and July.
A July 2019 report on food security and nutrition around the world published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stated that approximately 21.2 million people in Venezuela are suffering from hunger. According to the report, the increase in the level of hunger is a consequence of the current economic situation, primarily driven by recession and hyperinflation.
In the reporting period, UNICEF Venezuela welcomed the visit of the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean who travelled to the State of Táchira to witness field interventions, participated in community-based activities in the city of Caracas, reported on UNICEF’s contribution to the wellbeing of Venezuelan children, through mass and social media and, advice the team on the way forward to accelerate results for children.