Water service difficulties continue, affecting the most vulnerable in communities and affecting other crucial services like health and education. The provision of electricity and water services remains limited in the interior of the country. When electricity fails, it also often affects the water supply as pumping stations are not functioning.
There are still doubts about the quality of the water supplied, as regular power outages affect water treatment plants, with a negative impact on their quality, effecting the most vulnerable people.
In terms of needs, access to water seems to be the most problematic issue, with many communities receiving water less than once every eight days, which disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly.
The target population in the Humanitarian Response Plan in terms of access to safe water is 1.4 million people, in terms of access to hygiene products and basic information and water treatment and conservation in the home it is 3.5 million people and in terms of support with WASH interventions to institutions (schools, health/nutrition structures) it is 3.719 institutions.
Between July 2019 until the end of December, 550,886 vulnerable people have benefited from some Cluster activity including 101,808 girls, 82,989 boys, 205,863 women and 160,226 men.
During the same period, 310,598 received safe water, 60.477 people in the month of December. Out of this number, 137,507 people were supplied through water trucking, 98,600 through the rehabilitation of water systems, and 74,450 people received water treatment supplies at home. Also, about 57,800 people received family hygiene kits and about 25,600 people attended hygiene promotion sessions.
During the same period, 125 health and education institutions (22 hospitals, 22 health centers and 81 different types of structures) and 128 education structures received WASH services. The activities focused on the supply of water through water trucking and the rehabilitation of systems. Efforts have also been concentrated on hygiene promotion activities benefitting 33,000 people. It is estimated that in health structures, about 10,200 people have benefited from activities, and about 9,600 students and teachers in educational structures. Regarding the strengthening of staff capacities, trainings took place 271 health/nutrition structures, and 38 educational/protection structures respectively.
The Cluster intervenes in 24 states, however there are large differences in the percentage of people reached between states within the 2019 HRP. For states with the highest number of people reached, it ranges between 94 percent for Bolivar state to 19 percent for Zulia. For state with the lowest range, it varies between 0.2 percent for Sucre state and 8.41 percent for Apure. The total number of organizations reporting activities to the Cluster is 27.
In terms of meeting WASH needs, the gaps remain huge. The 310,598 people covered with safe water represent 22 percent of the target population of the HRP (1,400,000). The 265 health and educational institutions covered represent 7 percent of the 3,719 targeted in the HRP. In terms of people who access basic hygiene products and information and water treatment and conservation in their homes, 74,400 have been served from the 3,5 million targeted in the Plan.
In terms of gaps in geographical coverage, the states with the lowest percentage of people reached with an average of only 2 percent are Falcon, Guarico, Sucre, Carabobo and Apure, they are also the states with the least presence if organizations. The points to the need to support organizations to work in these states.
The biggest challenge is the lack of funds, which prevents the start of activities, recruitment, and the strengthening of logistical capacity.
Another problem relates to access challenges due to the characteristics of the terrain in certain areas during the rainy season, especially in the eastern part of the country (Amazonas, Delta Amacuro and Bolivar). There are also access problems related to insecurity, especially in border areas, and in mining areas in Bolivar state. The lack of fuel and high inflation also hinder operations.