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Venezuela: Floods DREF Plan of Action DREF Operation n° MDRVE005

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 23 August, heavy rains were registered due to the passage of the Tropical Wave N°38, which caused floods, landslides, road obstructions, loss of housing, damages to basic services such as water and electricity, among others in ten of the 24 states of the country. As shown in the map above the most affected states include Mérida, Apure, Bolivar, Táchira, Zulia, Delta Amacuro, Carabobo, Yaracuy, Portuguesa, and Sucre. On 25 August, the government declared a 90-day emergency decree for Merida, Apure, Bolivar, Yaracuy, and Zulia.

According to the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology forecast, the rainy season will continue affecting Venezuela. Official reports state that the damages at national level include:

  • 54,543 people affected
  • 10 states affected
  • 85 municipalities affected
  • 116 routes affected
  • 10 bridges affected
  • 79 overflows from different bodies of water
  • 40 large-scale landslides.

In Mérida, mainly the municipalities of Tovar, Antonio Pinto Salinas, and Santos Marquina suffered several damages. Due to the overflowing of rivers and streams in the Mocoties Valley, 20 people have died, 6,000 people have been affected directly, and countless structural damages and loss of agricultural livelihoods have occurred. Power and water supplies have been damaged as the electrical substation in the municipality of Tovar is obstructed, causing the total loss of electrical service in 5 municipalities (Tovar, Pinto Salinas, Zea, Rivas Dávila and Guaraque). Additionally, 71 kms of the 007 road were affected by 40 landslides of great magnitude. In addition, the Chama River, which borders the states of Mérida and Zulia, overflowed, and affected 1,200 families in the Zulia state in the southern area of lake Maracaibo.

In the state of Apure at least 3,827 families have been affected by the floods caused by the Arauca, Capanaparo and Cinaruco rivers, and 365 people are in temporary collective centres due to the partial or total damages registered in their houses. According to national figures, the municipalities of Achaguas, Biruaca, San Fernando and Pedro Camejo have reported significant affectations. It is important to highlight that the Orinoco River, the largest river in the country, has increased its levels, so if the rains continue, the situation could worsen.

In Bolívar, at least 2,198 families have been affected by the flooding of the Orinoco, Caroní, La Paragua, Aro and Cuyuní rivers. Local authorities in coordination with other humanitarian organizations are assisting the people in need with supplies, medicines, food, and comprehensive care. Furthermore, due to the overflow of the Caroní river, the municipality has established nine equipped collective centres to attend at least 2,000 people, while fumigation days are expected to be held due to the increased risk of vector diseases from stagnant water.