Venezuela: Humanitarians rapidly scale up to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
The United Nations and its partners continue working to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by providing health, water, sanitation and hygiene support, including on infection prevention control at prioritized hospitals, the provision of medical supplies; and COVID-19 awareness raising among communities. Social mobilization and risk communication has been an essential part of the COVID-19 response, with UN agencies and national and international NGOs, complementing national efforts, to develop messages, posters, videos and other communications materials aimed at raising awareness about COVID-19 among vulnerable people across the country.
As of the end of May, humanitarian partners had reached over 1 million people, 55 per cent of whom are women, as part of the multi-sectoral COVID-19 response. In addition to health and WASH activities, this includes the continuation of other critical humanitarian programmes including nutrition, food security, education and protection.
On 8 April and 29 May, two planes carrying over 100 tons of UN health, WASH nutrition and education supplies landed in Venezuela. These supplies have already been delivered to 189 health institutions, including 38 sentinel hospitals, clinics and community health centres in 13 states and have helped thousands of families with access to safe water. The response has also supported thousands of returnees that are crossing the border from Colombia and Brazil due to increasing difficulties to sustain their livelihoods in neighbouring countries. They are required to stay in temporary shelters for 14 days in the border areas as a preventative measure against the spread of the pandemic.
The UN and partners are appealing for US$72 million to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and call on donors to continue providing generous financial support, which has been essential in rapidly scaling up the response in a timely manner. Humanitarian needs in Venezuela remain substantial and more resources are urgently needed to further scale up the response.