Partners reported that the operational and safety conditions in the field, particularly in the states of Bolivar, Tachira and Zulia, continue to be affected by power outages, telecommunication problems, intermittent access to water, fuel shortages and the activities of irregular armed groups, mainly in border and remote areas.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), due to the general lack of access, Venezuela is among the 42 countries globally that require external assistance for food. At the end of the year, it was estimated that total cereal production in 2019 would decrease from the already low 2018 level. The projected decline is mainly due to a significant contraction in the area cultivated, as a result of high production costs and a general lack of agricultural inputs in domestic markets. The Government of Venezuela and FAO signed an agreement to strengthen the country's "integral vision of food security" with additional funding of US$3.6 million "to support production, the purchase of seeds, school meal programmes and resistance to the problems of climate change" .
In the state of Zulia, partners of the Shelter, Energy and Non-Food Items (NFIs) Cluster conducted a needs assessment in the Marewua indigenous community in the municipality of Machiques de Perija. Several needs were identified, such as a lack of safe water, limited access to medical services and difficulties in accessing food. In addition, community members expressed concerns about children’s health, especially the risk of malnutrition. Another problem was identified in terms of access to quality education, given that the local school lacks enough teachers and infrastructure. The risk of gender-based violence was mentioned as a major concern for the community, as well as the lack of electricity during the last four months.
In December, UN agencies, international NGOs and the Venezuelan Red Cross in conjunction with local authorities in the state of Tachira developed a Contingency Plan to address the crowds of people on the move during December at the land terminals of San Cristobal and San Antonio. According to authorities' estimate, at least 350,000 people passed through these terminals. Humanitarian partners provided diverse assistance that included water purification tablets, jerry cans, emergency lamps, diapers, hygiene kits and water tanks. The Venezuelan Red Cross provided comprehensive multi-sector support to travelers.